Chevron Phillips to Close PX Unit in Mississippi

14.12.2018 -

US oil and petrochemicals major Chevron Phillips Chemical has announced plans to end paraxylene (PX) production at its refinery in Pascagoula, Mississippi, USA, by the end of the year as it focuses on more strategic priorities in its shale-gas fueled US Gulf expansion drive.

The Pascagoula PX unit has capacity to produce 500,000 t/y of the aromatic, which the group said represents around 11% of total North American capacity and just under 1% of global capacity.  Chevron Phillips also produces benzene and propylene at the refinery.

Commenting on the planned closure, Gordon Haire, research director at Wood Mackenzie Chemicals, said the timing was mainly driven by the “imminent requirement for major maintenance spend on the asset.”

Paraxylene production at the Pascagoula refinery dates back to the 1960s, Wood Mackenzie explains, with a significant expansion taking place in the 1990s. The assets were part of the Axens Eluxyl technology deployment where developments in adsorption technology were added into the existing crystallization recovery process.

Separately, Chevron Phillips is exploring possibilities for adding a second cracker to one of its Texas facilities. A final investment decision is expected in late 2019 or 2020.

 Earlier this year, the Texas-based group started up a new ethane cracker at its Baytown complex near Houston. The new facility with ethylene capacity of 1.5m t/y is claimed to be one of the world’s largest and most energy-efficient crackers.

Chevron Phillips said it remains “very encouraged” by the fundamentals supporting an additional petrochemical investment in the US Gulf Coast, adding that the availability of competitive feedstocks in the region and growing worldwide demand for the group’s products appear to support such an initiative