Methyl Tert-Butyl Ether (MTBE) Prices Overview

Market Overview

Quarterly Update on Global MTBE Market
For the Quarter Ending September 2020
Supply of Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) in the Southeast Asian market remained mixed amidst several plant turnarounds and plant start-ups in the region. As by early September Chandra Asri of Indonesia started off its MTBE plant while by the September-end, S-Oil of Korea was heard implementing a maintenance turnaround at its MTBE facility. The supply crises were exacerbated by the turnaround at Taiwan’s Formosa plant in the second half of the third quarter due to a fire hazard at its upstream facility. Demand remained feeble due to reduced oil consumption as a repercussion caused by the global Pandemic. Reduced spread between derivative 92 RON gasoline and MTBE gave a prominent reflection of its reduced consumption in the regional petrochemical market, that consequently has a direct effect on its prices as well. However, the prices of MTBE pharma grade witnessed an appreciable rise in demand since the onset of Coronavirus. In line with the market outlook, prices of MTBE Pharma grade in India witnessed continuous upsurge and were assessed at USD 1250 per MT.
North America
As production was severely hit by heavy repercussions of Hurricanes in the US Gulf Coast region, supply crises remained persistent from early 2020 till the third quarter of 2020.  The export potential of the region also weakened in comparison to the previous financial year as the consumption of petrochemical products slumped due to surging Covid-19 infections. However, the consumption of MTBE improved with respect to the previous quarter as various countries resumed the market activities with ease in Covid-19 containment measures. Overall, the US MTBE market suffered a loss since major part of domestic production caters the global demand.

Considerable ease in containment measures across Europe provided a prominent ease in its supply fundamentals. In line with active resumption in market activities, operating rates also improved from July to September. Peak demand season in the European region aided the revival in consumption of methanol-based fuel oxygenate along the countries in the Mediterran8an region like Spain, Greece and Italy. Even after the resurgence of Coronavirus in several parts of the region, MTBE market remained balanced, driven by high seasonal demand. 

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ChemAnalyst gathers information through primary research surveys conducted with various MTBE manufacturers, spread across the domestic and international market, suppliers and dealers/distributors to gain insights into value-chains and demand-supply scenario to assess the market situation. Thorough study of company’s annual reports and secondary sources such as exhaustive search on credible paid databases, including our internal database is done to verify the information. All the collected information is analyzed, evaluated and presented in chronological order to depict a meaningful and clear picture of the concerned market.
Our dedicated team of industry experts comprehensively monitors and analyzes various aspects of the Global MTBE market. The team analyzes various industrial segments, strategic viewpoints and provides an analysis of the industry’s performance in the long run. This would enable our clients in efficiently plan their future investments, mitigate risk, understand the cost dynamics and strike out a balance amidst market volatility.
Critical examination of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the global supply chains and shift in demand patterns with change in buying behavior of consumers across the globe.
Several ongoing development projects across industries are tracked, followed by the details of major projects in the development stage, which can positively or negatively influence Global MTBE market.
Pricing is captured through exhaustive primary interviews with domestic and international manufacturers, traders and importers and customers on monthly and yearly basis.

Finally, region-specific markets for MTBE are analyzed and region-wise demand pattern is tracked.


Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) is a colorless, flammable liquid that possess high affinity for water. Ideally, MTBE is employed as an extractant and solvent in various chemical industries. Around 90 percent of MTBE produced globally is utilized as an octane booster in gasoline. Although Ethanol is regarded as its eco-friendly alternative, but MTBE is still being preferred over it on the back of its lower volatility, easy transportability, and ideal performance in reduction of formaldehyde and benzene in gasoline. In addition to its use as an oxygenator, MTBE is also used to produce Isobutylene with high purity. MTBE is commercially produced by the reaction of Methanol and Isobutylene in either a mixed gas-liquid or liquid phase reactor with an acidic ion exchange resin. The reaction proceeds at a pressure of 20 bar and at a temperature between 50-90 degree Celsius. The reaction mixture is then subjected to distillation to manufacture high purity MTBE. Although, several innovations are being made to upgrade the technology for producing a gasoline blendstock with high octane paraffin.