Texas City Chemicals

BP’s Texas City Chemicals plant (TCC) is a leading producer of paraxylene (PX) and metaxylene (MX), which help make everything from clothes and carpets to soda bottles and surfboards. 

Located about 60 miles southeast of the company’s U.S. headquarters in Houston, TCC has three process units and a deepwater marine terminal, and it can produce nearly 1.5 million tons’ worth of chemicals each year. In fact, TCC can produce enough PX each year to make seat belts for 1.1 billion cars.

The plant buys hydrocarbon mixtures known as “xylenes” from Gulf Coast refineries, and it uses them to manufacture PX and MX.

It delivers much of its PX output to BP’s Cooper River facility in South Carolina, which in turn manufactures purified terephthalic acid (PTA), a BP-invented chemical feedstock used to make polyester products such as home textiles and X-ray film.

Meanwhile, TCC sells its MX output to other manufacturers, who use it to make a wide variety of plastic products, including fiberglass auto bodies and cooling fans. 

Committed to safe and reliable operations, TCC has received the Distinguished Safety Silver Award for top industry safety performance from the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers association.

TCC began operating more than half a century ago, and today it is part of BP’s global aromatics business, headed by Luis Sierra.

“BP’s world-leading technologies in both paraxylene and PTA were developed in its U.S. laboratories and have been deployed by our partners and licensees around the world, giving rise to a whole new industry,” says Sierra. “Today, polyester plays an important role in so many different aspects of our lives — from clothing, to food packaging, to electronics such as smartphones.”

Since its first unit started up in 1962, TCC has made significant contributions, not only to the southeast Texas economy, but also to local schools and regional community organizations.

For example, TCC employees volunteer for and donate to groups such as the United Way and Junior Achievement. Over the past five years alone, they have contributed more than 20,000 volunteer hours to community service initiatives.

Elsewhere in Texas City, BP continues to partner with Eastman Chemical Company on the production and marketing of acetic acid, which can be used to make household fabrics, washing powder and other everyday items. In fact, BP is the exclusive marketer of Eastman’s annual output, which can reach around 580,000 tons