Farewell PX V

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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.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

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