PTA is short for purified terephthalic acid
The main raw material for PTA is paraxylene (PX).
PTA has the form of a white, crystalline powder and looks like powdered sugar. It is quite inert, which means that, for example, it is difficult to dissolve in water or other liquids. PTA is an aromatic acid, primarily applied in the production of polyester. The main raw material for PTA is paraxylene (PX). The Geel site has been producing PX locally since 2000 and provides a large part of the PTA manufacturing need for this raw material. The remainder of the necessary PX is imported from elsewhere.
When Amoco Chemicals Belgium was established in 1967, the production of PTA (purified terephthalic acid) had already been planned. In 1969, the first PTA unit (PTA1) came on line and in 1991 the second one (PTA2) followed. One year later, PTA1 was converted so that it could also produce PIA (purified isophthalic acid). In 2004, the global PIA business was sold to Flint Hills Resources, which decided to close the Geel unit in 2011. In 1998, PTA3 came on line. In 2001, the PTA3 capacity was increased to 650,000 ton per annum. In 2009, another PTA expansion program led to an overall annual production capacity of 1.4 million tonnes. In 2014, the Indian company JBF started production of PET on a field next to the BP plant in Geel. The PET factory uses a lot of the Geel PTA production.
The Geel BP site is Europe's most important producer of purified terephthalic acid. Other BP PTA production units are in North America and Asia. BP is one ot the word leaders in PTA production. Proprietary technology allows BP to produce high-quality PTA at low cost.