European Ether Market and Outlook

In Europe the current demand for fuel ethers is about 6 million tonnes/year. Despite the increasing amount of ethanol direct blending, the ETBE market still shows a positive trend, as shown in the graph below. 

Global Ether Market and Outlook

Following market declines after the peak in 2002, demand for fuel ethers (MTBE, ETBE, TAME and TAEE) has rebounded the past several years as the need for clean-burning, high performance octane components expanded along with higher quality gasoline specifications. 

Global ether demand in 2009 was 16.5 million tons per year (385 thousand barrels per day) and consisted of 78% MTBE, 14% ETBE and the remainder is TAME and a small volume of TAEE.

Europe and the Asia-Pacific are the largest ether demand markets, with 26% and 25% market share, respectively, followed by Latin America and the Middle East.  

Demand is projected to grow by 1.8 million tons per year between 2009 and 2015, largely driven by growth in the Asia Pacific region, according to a recent study by Hart Energy Consulting’s World Refining and Fuels Service.  While demand will continue to grow in this region and in the Middle East, the Latin America volume will be replaced with Bioethanol.

The Hart Energy assessment shows that ether demand is expected to remain stable over the next decades, with some further shifts toward ETBE and TAEE.  By 2030, the MTBE share of the ether market will decrease to 64% and ETBE and TAEE will account for 32%.

Ethers will account for about 1.5% of global gasoline supply by 2030. The contribution will be higher in the growth markets of the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific, where gasoline quality improvement and octane needs will be greatest.