Chevron Phillips Chemicals (CP Chem) has announced it will be closing a paraxylene (PX) plant in Mississippi. PX is the raw material used to produce PTA, which is the major raw material for polyester.
There has been little growth in the U.S. polyester market for some years, a recent release said, but a new PET resin plant has been given the green light by the Federal Trade Commission. The joint ownership of Corpus Christi Polymers is now going ahead with the partially completed PET resin plant with a planned capacity of 1.1 million tons. Also planned is a PTA plant capable of producing 1.3 million tons. If the PTA plant goes ahead it will require 860,000 tons of PX. The CP Chem PX plant to be closed has 1.1 million tons of capacity.
There are currently two PX plants under construction in China with a joint capacity of around 9 million tons. On completion, these plants are predicted to displace Chinese imports of PX from various countries, including Korea and Japan.
Presumably, these suppliers will be looking for alternative markets, so there promises to be considerable negotiation on how Corpus Christi Polymers sources its raw material once the PET plant is ready for production, which is expected in 2020.