China's PX consumption could reach 18 million tonnes in 2014, China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation chair predicts, driven by increasing domestic demand, delayed construction of new PX projects

BEIJING , April 10, 2014 () – China's dependence on imported p-xylene (PX) could top 60 percent in 2014 on increasing domestic demand and at the same time delayed construction of new PX projects, according to Li Yongwu, chairman of the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation.

Speaking at a PX industry meeting organized by China National Chemical Information Center on Thursday, Li predicted that China's apparent consumption of PX would reach 18 million tonnes in 2014, up from 16.41 million tonnes in 2013.

China imported 9.05 million tonnes of PX in 2013, up from 3.98 million tonnes in 2011, said Li.

The country is predicted to import more than 12 million tonnes of PX in 2015, said Bao Tiping, a senior engineer with China Huanqiu Contracting and Engineering Corporation.

As of end-2013, China had 11.10 million tonnes of PX production capacity with the delay of multiple PX projects.

The expansion PX project of Qingdao Lidong Chemical Co., Ltd. from 700,000-tonnes/year to 1-million-tonnes/year came into operation in February, 2014, following a delay of more than two months.

PetroChina Sichuan Petrochemical, a subsidiary of China's top oil and gas producer PetroChina (PTR.NYSE; 601857.SH; 00857.HK), also put a 650,000-tonnes/year PX project into operation in February this year after a delay of more than a quarter.

China currently has two PX projects under construction, with a new production capacity of 800,000 tonnes, which should come on stream in 2015.

China has 15 proposed new or expansion PX projects with a combined production capacity of 12.42 million tonnes.

However, most of the proposed PX projects are still in the preliminary stage due to strong public opposition to the building of PX facilities.

China needs to add 15.42 million tonnes of PX production capacity by 2020 in order to meet domestic demand, according to Cao Xianghong, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineers.

Almost all PX in China is used to produce purified terephthalic acid (PTA) for the production of polyester.

China had 33.07 million tonnes of PTA production capacity by end-2013 and the national PTA production capacity is expected to reach 55 million tonnes by 2020.

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