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Manufacturing process and cost of ownership

Leading technology for all commercial environments
Operator looking out at the PTA silos bp Zhuhai, China

Manufacturing process

bp PTA  uses proprietary multi-stage counter current solvent extraction, which enables the close coupling of the oxidation and purification sections. We have eliminated the crude TA dryer, conveying system and intermediate storage silos, and centrifuges. We use High Pressure distillation of the vent gas out of the oxidation reactor, resulting in electricity generation. In the purification section of the plant, we use proprietary pressure filtration to recycle the water and minimize the load on waste water treatment (WWT).


Technology features

  • Lower equipment count that has reduced the capital costs and the overall footprint
  • Less rotating equipment leading to improved operability and maintenance
  • Lower maintenance needs resulting in high reliability and thus higher utilization
  • Inherently Safe Design Principles subject to highest standards of safety
  • Enhanced oxidation reactor safety system
  • State-of-the-art automation
  • Reduced equipment fouling and therefore reduced caustic washing.  


bp has over 14 years experience operating and optimizing these innovations and demonstrating their value at our own assets. These differentiated pieces of equipment have been installed not just at Zhuhai, but across our asset base.

Cost of ownership

Capital cost

bp PTA technology leverages economies of scale (we have the first and largest single train PTA unit in the world).However, its capital cost advantage goes much further. bp has implemented extensive process simplification and innovation that reduced the equipment count by 30% from our previous generation of technology,2 and eliminated several large and expensive sections of the plant such as the TA dryer and silos. What’s more, Zhuhai 3 produces 60% more PTA on a 40% smaller3 footprint than Zhuhai 1, built 12 years earlier. bp PTA technology has a $60m CAPEX savings over our conventional technology for a 1.25 mtepa unit.2

Variable cost

PTA is a cyclical commodity business. Producers that sit at the left side of the cost curve have lower variable cost per ton of PTA and will be more resilient and profitable in this business through the cycle. Our Zhuhai 3 plant features lower conversion cost as compared to bp’s older PTA units and our licensing offer is even $6-10/te lower4 than Zhuhai 3. We have been able to establish ourselves as one of the lower variable cost producers as compared to the producers deploying conventional technology, through our commitment to both innovation and continuous improvement.

1. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/regional/2015-07/03/content_21170931.htm
2. Derived from bp project costs.
3. Derived from the capacity and plot size of bp Zhuhai #1 and Zhuhai #3.
4. Derived from actual operating data from bp’s PTA manufacturing facilities and internal engineering analysis.