Paraxylene, also known as PX or P-Xylene, is an aromatic hydrocarbon compound, derived particularly from benzene. Paraxylene is a colorless, toxic, sweet-smelling, and highly flammable chemical at room temperature . It is found naturally in petroleum and coal tar. Paraxylene or P-Xylene is an isomer of xylene compound, derived from benzene. Some of the other isomers of xylene include O-xylene and M-xylene. Paraxylene finds its largest application in large-scale manufacturing of terephthalic acid for polyester; also known as parylene. The production process of paraxylene is one of the most complicated among all the chemicals; simple crystallization of the xylene normally led to complex purification process owing to the formation of eutectic mixtures . It is manufactured by catalytic reforming of naptha, a petroleum derivative, and separated in a series of adsorption or crystallization, distillation, and reaction processes from ethyl benzene, o-xylene, and m-xylene. The melting point of Paraxylene is highest among other isomers of xylene.
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Based on end-user application, the global paraxylene market can be broadly categorized as dimethyl terephthalate (DMT), purified terephthalic acid (PTA), dibutyl phathalate xylene (Di-PX), and others. PTA accounted for the largest share in the paraxylene market in 2013 owing to their increased use in the polyester chain. On the other hand, DMT was the fasted-growing segment in 2013.
In recent years, the demand-supply gap in the paraxylene market broadened owing to increasing application of paraxylene in various other nontraditional applications such as PET bottles. However, the production remains tight with limited number of manufacturers; owing to complicated manufacturing process associated with the paraxylene . Increasing use of PTA in polyester manufacturing is the most-dominant driver of the global paraxylene market. More than two-third of the total Paraxylene production was used in manufacturing pollster in 2013. Moreover, the rising demand for PET bottle resin due to increasing use of PET in soft drink and mineral water bottles is further boosting the paraxylene market.
Increasing use of bio-based paraxylene in bioplastics PET bottles (Bio-PET) and other bioplastics applications such as catering utensils is creating new opportunities for the Paraxylene market.
Asia Pacific is the largest market for Paraxylene followed by Europe and North America. Asia Pacific and RoW (including Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa) are two of the fasted-growing Paraxylene markets, which witnessed an above-average growth in recent years. Country wise , China, the U.S., and India are some of the largest regional markets for paraxylene. China held the largest market share in 2013 in terms of regional consumption of paraxylene. The size of the peracetic acid market is relatively low in the RoW region. However, it is expected to witness healthy growth throughout the forecasted period, especially in petroleum-rich countries of the Middle East.
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Some of the major companies operating in the global Paraxylene (Px) market include
- British Petroleum (BP)
- JX Nippon Oil & Energy
- Reliance Industries
- Chevron Phillips Chemical
- Dragon Aromatics
- Fujian Refining & Petrochemical
- Toray Industries
- Kuwait Paraxylene Production
- and Samsung Total Petrochemicals.