US MTBE exports rise in September with Jan-Sep at three-year high: EIA


US MTBE exports in September climbed to the highest level for the month in three years, and exports for the nine-month period from January through September remained at a three-year high, US Energy Information Administration data showed Wednesday.

September US MTBE exports totaled 1.291 million barrels, up 9% from 1.181 million barrels in September 2015 and 5% from 1.223 million barrels in August, the EIA data showed. September's export total marked the highest level for the month since 1.499 million barrels in September 2013.

The January-September export total of 12.256 million barrels represents a 23% increase from 9.946 million in the same nine-month period of 2015 and the highest since 12.749 million barrels were exported in January-September 2013.

Mexico remained the top MTBE importer from the US Gulf Coast, but the 534,000 barrels in September ranked as the country's lowest since 463,000 barrels in February.

The EIA data includes only outright MTBE exports, not MTBE that has been blended into gasoline then exported.

Exports of MTBE and finished gasoline into Mexico have been strong this year because of a range of refinery issues affecting that country and growing gasoline demand, sources have said. Venezuela, with 491,000 barrels, attracted the second-highest volume, while Chile received 203,000 barrels for the month. Mexico, Venezuela and Chile typically have ranked first, second and third among destinations for MTBE imports.

The US imported 209,000 barrels -- 101,000 barrels from Belgium, 49,000 from the Netherlands, 41,000 from Argentina and 18,000 from Germany. Imported material will generally be exported to Latin America as MTBE or blended into finished gasoline, as the blendstock is not used in the US gasoline pool.

S&P Global Platts Wednesday assessed US Gulf Coast MTBE at $1.7135/gal FOB USG, a four-week high. The assessment jumped 10.45 cents -- 6.5% -- day on day in response to OPEC's production plan. Crude and gasoline pricing firmed day on day after OPEC agreed at its meeting in Vienna to freeze production at 32.5 million b/d, requiring an about 1.2 million b/d cut from current levels.

US Gulf Coast MTBE pricing averaged $1.6885/gal FOB USG in September, Platts data showed, down 17% from an average of $2.0306/gal FOB USG in September 2015.


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