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From soft drink bottles to packaging trays, from clothing to carpet, bp Aromatics is a global leader in making the chemicals used to produce many of the things we use in our daily lives
Operator on a walkway moving towards the Purified Terephthalic Acid (PTA) silos, Zuhai plant, China

In Aromatics, we care deeply about how we deliver these essential products to the world. Above everything, it begins with safety and excellence in our operations. This is fundamental to our success.

We believe our progress comes from the energy of our people, who are committed to continuous improvement and excellence.

We depend on developing and deploying our proprietary technology and building long-lasting relationships with our employees, contractors, customers and community partners.

Our main products include paraxylene (PX) and purified terephthalic acid (PTA).


PTA is a raw material used in the manufacture of polyesters used in fibres, textiles, film, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. PX is a feedstock for PTA production. We also produce a number of other specialty petrochemicals products, including metaxylene.

Technician in Texas City
Our history
bp began its journey with purified terephthalic acid (PTA) in 1956 when Amoco acquired the Mid-Century technology


bp’s leadership in the technology started in the early 1960s when the purification process was invented and key patents were filed by Amoco.1 bp has since been building and operating PTA units for over 50 years around the world, as well as licensing our technology since 2012.

Reactor being delivered during Geel upgrade

Reactor being delivered during Geel upgrade

bp’s proprietary PTA technology has gone through multiple generational upgrades over the last several decades. bp has continually reduced the conversion costs of its existing PTA assets since the early 2000s by aggressively applying new technology and lessons learned across the global PTA network.

bp produces PX using proprietary technology first deployed in 1967. Through the years bp has continued to invest in the development and improvement of their PX technology.


1. United States Patent Office 3,238,849 Patented Nov. 29, 1966 3,288,849 PROCESS FOR PURIFYING TEREPHTHALIC ACID Delbert H. Meyer, Highland, Ind., assignor to Standard Oil Company, Chicago
Our products - PX and PTA
Operators with sacks of PTA in Cooper River

Operators with sacks of PTA in Cooper River


Paraxylene (PX) is a colourless, flammable liquid that is separated from mixed xylenes created during the reforming of petroleum naphtha. PX is the preferred feedstock for the production of PTA.



bp invented purified terephthalic acid (PTA), which is used in the manufacture of polyesters used in fibres, textiles, film, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles.


Visit our Geel, Belgium plant website for some insights into PTA applications:

Environmental performance
Operator in Zuhai

Operator in Zuhai

Through our research and development efforts, we introduced a latest generation PTA technology in our Zhuhai, China facility that delivers 65% fewer GHG emissions, 75% less water discharge and 95% less solid waste disposal in its manufacturing process than the manufacturing process for conventional PTA technology of the 1990s.2

This latest technology was also retrofitted into our production facilities in Geel, Belgium and Cooper River in South Carolina, in the United States. By applying our new technology, we expect to significantly improve the energy efficiency in these facilities. Our new technology has also allowed us to offer a unique new product range that combines world-class PTA technology with bp Target Neutral’s carbon management expertise.

Our Zhuhai site received China’s 'Excellence in Energy Conservation Award'. In January 2018, bp was also named also 'Corporate Citizen Model – Most Responsible Corporation' for launching PTAir in China, a more sustainable solution for the polyester value chain. Under the guidance of China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF), the China Chemical Industry Newspaper established the award in 2013 with the aim to set up industry models that have made substantial contributions to the sustainable development of China’s oil and chemical industry.


2. Derived from bp’s internal analysis Evaluating Energy Processing Technology, conducted in 2016. Data in this internal analysis was derived from bp’s actual operating data from six of its PTA manufacturing facilities
Our plants

Our sites and offices can be found around the world, in the United States, United Kingdom, China, Belgium, Indonesia and Taiwan.

Texas City

Located near Houston, bp Texas City Chemicals produces two key chemical intermediates – paraxylene (PX) and metaxylene (MX). Texas City Chemicals feeds much of its PX to sister site bp Cooper River, where it is used to make PTA for the production of polyester. MX is used to make a variety of items, from water bottles to fiberglass auto bodies to surfboards.

Cooper River

Located in a picturesque wilderness on the outskirts of Charleston, South Carolina, bp’s Cooper River Chemicals plant produces purified terephthalic acid (PTA), used in the manufacture of polyesters used in fibres, textiles, film, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. 


bp Zhuhai, located in Zhuhai City, China, produces a single product, PTA. Founded in 1997, Zhuhai Bijia Chemical Co. Ltd. (Zhuhai bp) is a joint venture established by bp and Zhuhai Port Co. Ltd. (formerly Fuhua Group). bp Zhuhai Phase III was the first project to adopt bp's latest generation of PTA technology.


bp in Geel, located in Belgium, is an important production centre of purified terephthalic acid and paraxylene. PX in Geel is used exclusively as a feedstock for the local manufacture of PTA. The PX operation in Geel is one of the largest PX-units in the world and based on bp technology.

As well as the sites above, we also have a wholly owned plant in Merak (Indonesia) and a joint venture facility in Taichung (Taiwan).