Register with us today

and in less than 60 seconds continue your access to:Latest news headlinesAnalytical topics and featuresCommodities videos, podcast & blogsSample market prices & dataSpecial reportsSubscriber notes & daily commodity email alerts

Already have an account?

Log in to register

Forgot Password

Please Note: Platts Market Center subscribers can only reset passwords via the Platts Market Center

Enter your Email ID below and we will send you an email with your password.


  • Email Address* Please enter email address.

If you are a premium subscriber, we are unable to send you your password for security reasons. Please contact the Client Services team.

If you are a Platts Market Center subscriber, to reset your password go to the Platts Market Center to reset your password.

In this list
Petrochemicals

Analysis: Venezuela sanctions weigh on US MTBE prices

Agriculture | Energy | Coal | Electric Power | LNG | Natural Gas | Oil | Metals | Steel | Petrochemicals | Shipping

Commodities 2020

Electric Power

Platts M2MS-Power

Commodities | NGL | Gasoline | Petrochemicals | Olefins

NGLs Conference, 9th Annual

Petrochemicals

Olin to shut Texas chlor-alkali plant

Analysis: Venezuela sanctions weigh on US MTBE prices

Houston — The sharp dropoff in Venezuela's purchasing of MTBE, as reflected in the most recent US International Trade Commission data, has dragged prices for the US product to multi-year lows relative to associated markets.

S&P Global Platts assessed the US MTBE market at 208.95 cents/gal Friday, which was 1.12-cent discount to NYMEX RBOB gasoline futures and a 18.68-cent discount to European pricing.

US MTBE typically trades at a premium to both.

Historically, Platts has assessed US MTBE at a 10-cent premium to the European market and at a premium to RBOB futures that can fluctuate between 20-40 cents.

The US market has weakened sharply over the past several months as demand for MTBE has waned, largely due to sanctions the US government has levied on Venezuela.

MTBE is a gasoline blending component that boosts the octane of fuel. Its use was practically banned in the US in the early 2000s, leaving US producers exclusively dependent on export markets.

Mexico has been the largest buyer of US MTBE for years, with Chile and Venezuela vying for the second spot.

The countries took 65.7%, 18% and 13.5%, respectively, of US MTBE exports in 2018, according to ITC data.

In 2019, however, sellers have had to cope with Venezuela's departure from the buying landscape.

Venezuela imported 30.7 million mt in January, accounting for 29.7% of the US' total exports of MTBE in the month, but none in February.

That lack of buying brought US exports down by 20.7 million mt, or 20%, from January to February.

Mexico took in more product in February, increasing its monthly buying by more than 10.5 million mt, but it still did not make up for the loss of Venezuela.

Until sellers can find a new home for the displaced product, US MTBE prices could continue to face pressure.

--Josh Pedrick, joshua.pedrick@spglobal.com

--Edited by Pankti Mehta, pankti.mehta1@spglobal.com