U.S. MTBE production at a record high in 1998

Edward J. Swain Consultant Houston Methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) production by U.S. merchant and captive producers was at its highest level in 1998. Imports of MTBE into the U.S. were also at their highest levels in the past year. Offsetting high levels of production and imports were low MTBE prices throughout all of 1998. MTBE prices follow gasoline prices, and crude oil and gasoline prices were at a record low level during 1998. As crude oil and gasoline prices appear to be on the rise during the early months of 1999, MTBE prices may improve. The future of MTBE is uncertain, however, as the governor of California in March issued a phasedown on the octan...

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