Houston — Mexico's Pemex produced a combined 25,631 mt of benzene, toluene and xylene in November, down 170 mt, or 0.7%, from October, but up 25,631 mt year on year, data from the state-owned company showed Thursday.
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The November total was the second highest combined monthly output of BTX posted by the Mexican energy producer to date in 2018 from its Cangrejera petrochemical complex in the southern state of Veracruz, after a record high reported in October.
The company's toluene output totaled 14,019 mt in November, up 501 mt, or 3.7%, month on month and up 14,019 mt on the year, the data showed.
Mixed xylenes output totaled 8,067 mt, up 87 mt, or 1.1%, month on month and 8,067 mt higher than a year earlier.
Pemex's benzene production totaled 3,545 mt, down 758 mt, or 17.6%, on month, but 3,545 mt higher than in November 2017. Its pygas output totaled 8,155 mt, down 704 mt, or 7.9%, on the month but up 8,155 mt on the year.
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Including the pygas, Pemex total aromatic production accounted for 33,786 mt, down 874 mt, or 3%, month on month. The company's benzene and pygas output is mostly destined for export, mainly to the US and Europe, a source close to company operations said.
BTX comprised 14% of Cangrejera's entire petrochemicals production in November, while total petrochemical output was 178,635 mt, up 4% on the month, the data showed.
This is the second highest combined output of key aromatics benzene, toluene and mixed xylenes since the company restarted production in April at Cangrejera after five months of inactivity. Pemex did not produce any toluene, xylene or benzene in November last year, according to company data released then. A maintenance shutdown planned for 41 days was extended to six months after intermittent operational problems emerged in the second half of last year, a source close to the company said earlier.
The aromatics unit can produce 500 mt/day each of toluene and benzene. It has been set to run at 90% capacity over the past month due to strategic planning to increase aromatics production and reduce imports of toluene and xylene, a source close to the company said.
Mexico typically imports about 540,000 barrels/month of virgin naphtha rich in aromatics. It is combined with domestic naphtha and used as feedstock for the catalytic cracker aromatics plant, located at Cangrejera, according to market sources.
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