Readers will hopefully forgive the blog a moment of nostalgia. This weekend sees the closure of SABIC’s PX V plant in the UK, after producing c10 million tonnes of paraxylene. The blog’s first role as a product manager was in trading 250KT/year of xylene feedstock for PX V. In turn, this led to a memorable 2 years secondment in Houston, Texas, and then into senior management.
At that time, the blog worked for ICI – then the UK’s largest chemical company and No 3 in the world. In PX/PTA we were No 2, behind Amoco. Today, both companies have disappeared. Yet the PX/PTA business has gone from strength to strength. When PX V opened, world polyester demand was c15 MT, and mainly based on DMT. Today, it is c50MT, with almost all that increase based on PTA.
The blog has fond memories of those early days as part of the ICI PX fraternity, when we were successfully building a global polyester business. Rumours that SABIC will sponsor a lavish all-expenses paid farewell party in Riyadh have sadly been denied. Instead, the blog proudly marks the occasion, and thanks all those still around for their continued friendship.