Xylene is a hydrocarbon with 8 carbon atoms that contains an unsaturated aromatic ring structure, plus two additional carbon atoms. Essentially benzene plus two extra carbons.

In a refinery, xylene is valued as a source of octane for gasoline blending. However, in gasoline xylene content is also constrained by a limit on total aromatics content, because aromatics contribute to smog formation when lost to the atmosphere through evaporation.

Xylene is also an important feedstock to the petrochemicals industry, so many refiners produce and extract xylene to sell as a product.

The primary source of xylene in a refinery is from the reformate produced in the reformer.

The Refinery Reference Desk includes content derived from our industry experts as well as from public data sources such as company websites. Nothing herein is intended to serve as investment advice. This material is based on information that we believe to be reliable and adequately comprehensive, but we do not represent that such information is in all respects accurate or complete. McKinsey Energy Insights does not accept any liability for any losses resulting from use of the content.

McKinsey uses cookies to improve site functionality, provide you with a better browsing experience, and to enable our partners to advertise to you. Detailed information on the use of cookies on this Site, and how you can decline them, is provided in our cookie policy. By using this Site or clicking on "OK", you consent to the use of cookies.