September 2020

Process Optimization

Catalytic processes operation during downturns in aromatics complexes

Paraxylene production is a highly cyclical business that is subject to changes in the global economy and dependent on feedstock costs, alternative dispositions for aromatics, utilities costs and plant locations, among other factors. With the large PX capacity added by recently started crude-to-chemicals complexes and the expected impact of the economic recession on commodities demand, many aromatics complexes face a significant slowdown in the coming months or, possibly, years.

Andrews, J., Hung, J., Molinier, M., Lim, Y. T., ExxonMobil Chemical Co.

Paraxylene (PX) production is a highly cyclical business that is subject to changes in the global economy and dependent on feedstock costs, alternative dispositions for aromatics, utilities costs and plant locations, among other factors. With the large PX capacity added by recently started crude-to-chemicals complexes1,2 and the expected impact of the economic recession on commodities demand, many aromatics complexes face a significant slowdown in the coming months or, possibly, years. However, some sites will opt to continue manufacturing at low rates, rather than to shut down their facilities. Long-term contractual obligations, keeping a reformer in operation to produce other molecules or

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