Taiwan’s Formosa Petrochemical Corp. is expected to start its latest 330,000 mt/year methyl tert-butyl ether plant in Mailiao in Yunlin County by the second quarter of 2019.
“The plant should be up and running by Q2 of 2019 as of now” a source close to the company said.
Formosa had recently concluded its discussions for its 2019 term tenders and is expected to sell approximately 400,000 mt/year of MTBE to its term buyers in 2019 and some production at this new plant will go towards fulfilling the requirements.
Over 90% of MTBE is used in gasoline as an octane booster and oxygenate and is manufactured by the chemical reaction of methanol and isobutylene.
Meanwhile, in the related Asian gasoline market, the FOB Singapore 92 RON-Brent crude spreads have turned negative on Tuesday, at minus $1.42/mt, whilst the inter-Ron spreads have decreased across all 92, 95 and 97 RON values, reflecting thinner blend margins. The Asian gasoline market has been in the doldrums in recent weeks on the back of excess supplies.
FOB Singapore MTBE prices have been fluctuating within the week from a low of $588.50/mt on November 29 to a high of $629/mt on December 3, based on S&P Global Platts data.