Ecopetrol ups aromatics output amid US demand spike

Friday, April 24, 2015

Colombia's state oil company Ecopetrol increased production of aromatics by 10% at its Barrancabermeja refinery in the first quarter amid higher demand in the US.

Output of the crude oil-derived aromatics reached 250,000b in the first three months of the year, Ecopetrol said in a release.

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According to the company, the US has become a key market for benzene, a key feedstock in the production of plastics, resins, lubricants and synthetic fibers.

Ecopetrol signed a contract in February to guarantee export of up to 10,000b of benzene per month for use in the US market.

The refinery also produces cumene, xylene, toluene and orthoxylene.

The company aims to increase aromatics sales by 20% from last year to 876,000b in 2015. Output of these chemicals are also forecast to climb to 950,000b in 2016 and 1Mb in 2017.