20 April 2009 00:00 [Source: ICB]
Paraxylene (PX) is the largest volume isomer of the mixed xylenes. Its primary demand comes from the polyester chain, with about 60% from textiles and about 30% from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging resin.?xml:namespace>
A small amount of PX is used as a solvent and to produce di-paraxylene and herbicides.
Demand in ?xml:namespace>
SABIC permanently shut its 365,000 tonne/year plant at
Global consultancy CMAI says that global markets shrunk by over 5% in 2008, driven by lower demand and heavy destocking, as well as a sharp increase in recycled PET.
European contracts are traditionally settled on the basis of the Asian Contract Price (ACP), with
European April contracts rose €10/tonne to €705/tonne FD NWE. The April ACP increased by $50/tonne to $880/tonne CFR and two producers, ExxonMobil in the US and Japan's Idemitsu Kosan, have proposed hikes of $160/tonne and $150/tonne for May, respectively.
After hitting a high of €1,085/tonne last July, European contract prices dropped continually in the second half of 2008, finally hitting a low in January 2009 of €500/tonne.
Spot prices, which traded at a 13-year high of $1,623/tonne in July, also fell in the latter part of 2008, but started to recover in January. By mid-April numbers had lifted to $930-970/tonne.
Conventional technology is based on the isomerization of mixed xylenes from refinery reformate streams or from pyrolysis gasoline (pygas). High purity product can be obtained using crystallization or selective adsorptive separation.
Toluene disproportionation offers an alternative route, with the latest catalysts able to produce a PX-rich stream, but this route co-produces benzene. Processes have also been developed using a zeolite catalyst for the alkylation of toluene with methanol to produce PX without benzene co-product.
New sources of supply from the Middle East,
CMAI says that an expected slow recovery in demand post-crisis will lead to excess capacity worldwide of nearly 11.5m tonnes/year (even after closures of 1m tonnes/year) in a market of 28.8m tonnes/year in 2011, the predicted trough of the market.
But, from 2010, 500,000 tonnes/year of PX will be needed once
European paraxylene CAPACITY, '000 TONNES/year
|BP Refining & Petrochemicals||Gelsenkirchen, Germany||190|
|Galp Chemical||Oporto, Portugal||140|
|Lukoil Neftochim Burgas||Burgas, Bulgaria||15|
|Omsk Refinery||Omsk, Russia||190|
|PCK Raffinerie||Schwedt, Germany||70|
|Petkim Petrokimya Holding||Aliaga, Turkey||135|
|PKN Orlen||Plock, Poland||50|
|Polimeri Europa||Sarroch, Italy||100|
|Rompetrol Petrochemicals||Navodari, Romania||20|
|Shell & DEA Oil||Wesseling, Germany||140|
|Total Petrochemicals||Gonfreville, France||135|
Profile last published September 4, 2006
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