Benzene is a primary aromatic and the precursor for the C6 value chain, and finds itself at crossroads in relation to the aromatics main outlet of supply. Benzene supply is traditionally dependent on gasoline production out of the refinery and as a co-product of naphtha cracking.
However, massive projections for increased polyethylene terephthalate demand in Asia led to a wave of investments in paraxylene production units and resulted in growth of benzene production as a by-product from these units. Also, with major refinery expansions in the Middle East (especially processing heavier crude, which yields more benzene) and Asia, as well as move to lighter cracking for ethylene production in the US and the Middle East, benzene supply dynamics globally have changed. Benzene is no longer just dictated by the traditional means of supply.