BP has announced that it plans to invest over US$200m to upgrade its purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plants at Cooper River, South Carolina and Geel, Belgium. The investments will position these assets amongst the most efficient PTA manufacturing facilities in the world.

“This allows us to apply our latest proprietary technology and process know-how to existing assets, significantly improving their cost competitiveness and reducing their environmental footprint,” said Luis Sierra, President BP Aromatics – Americas, Europe and Middle East. “It enables Cooper River and Geel to remain the leading PTA manufacturing complexes in the Americas and Europe respectively.”

By applying the latest PTA technology to these world-scale production facilities, BP expects to greatly improve feedstock and energy efficiency thus reducing both variable and fixed cost and greenhouse gas emissions.

PTA is the raw material used to make polyester which is found in a wide range of consumer goods ranging from fabrics to food and beverage containers. The BP Cooper River site is the largest PTA producer in the Americas and BP Geel is the largest in Europe.

Cooper River’s PTA1 unit, one of two units at the facility, is expected to be upgraded by mid 2016. The project expects to create around 200 construction jobs at its peak and indirectly support many more jobs in the region. When the project is completed, the reduction in annual greenhouse gas reductions should equate to eliminating the electricity and heating emissions of about 2,000 typical US households.

The Geel upgrade is expected to create around 100 construction jobs at its peak and will also indirectly benefit other businesses in the area. Geel’s PTA3 unit is expected to be upgraded by the end of 2015 with PTA2 following in 2016. The annual greenhouse gas reductions should equate to eliminating the electricity and heating emissions of 1,500 typical Belgium households.