Cooper River Chemicals

Located on the outskirts of Charleston, South Carolina, BP’s Cooper River Chemicals plant is America’s largest producer of purified terephthalic acid (PTA), a key building block of clothing, home textiles, carpets, plastic bottles and thousands more everyday items. 

Cooper River also has a distinguished record of environmental stewardship, which its employees exemplify through their support for the local wildlife living in forests and wetlands around the facility. 

BP invented PTA — a chemical feedstock used primarily to make polyester products — and today the company’s Cooper River plant has the capacity to generate more than 1.4 million tons’ worth each year. 

In early 2017, the plant is scheduled to finish nearly $200 million of infrastructure improvements that should reduce its electricity consumption by about 40 percent. To put that in perspective, a 40 percent reduction would slash greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equal to the combined electricity and heating emissions of around 2,000 typical U.S. households. 

“The project allows us to apply our latest proprietary technology and process know-how, which will significantly improve the plant’s cost competitiveness and reduce our carbon footprint,” says Cooper River Chemicals Plant Manager John Harvey. “It also enables Cooper River to remain one of the leading PTA manufacturing complexes in North America.” 

The upgrades reflect a broader commitment to environmental protection. 

Situated in a region known for its scenic beauty and abundant wildlife, Cooper River’s industrial footprint takes up only 450 of its nearly 6,000 acres of uplands and wetlands. Its property includes a number of animal and tree species indigenous to the South Carolina low country, such as wood ducks and longleaf pines. The facility works to safeguard all on-site species, and it has earned recognition from the Wildlife Habitat Council, the National Land Conservation Conference and other nature groups. 

BP also contributes to the local communities around Cooper River by supporting institutions such as the United Way, the Boy Scouts and the University of South Carolina (USC). For example, it has provided more than $150,000 to Cocky’s Reading Express, a USC initiative that promotes literacy throughout the state.