Mixed Xylene is a colourless, flammable aromatic hydrocarbon liquid substance with a sweet odour. It is a mixture of four isomers of xylene such as meta xylene, para xylene, ortho xylene and ethylbenzene. Principally Mixed xylenes are the second most important aromatic product in terms of world consumption for chemical manufacturing, ranking behind benzene but ahead of toluene. The term mixed xylenes refers to the symmetrical mixture of four isomers with the same C8H10 chemical formula which include para xylene, ortho xylene, meta xylene, and ethylbenzene. Mixed xylenes are produced by several methods but petroleum is the major source; however, large volumes of the mixed xylenes produced during petroleum refining are not isolated but rather left in the refinery stream for use in the gasoline pool as an octane value improver.
In the next five years, mixed xylenes capacity is predicted for more increasing at an average rate of 3-4% per year, driven mainly by new investments in mainland China, the United States, and Saudi Arabia, while consumption will grow at an average of three to four percent per year. However, changes in fuel usage as well as new regulations such as IMO 2020 are projected to modify the mixed xylenes production pattern in the medium term.