ExxonMobil Chemical filed permit applications for a multibillion-dollar expansion at its Baytown, Texas, refinery facility, already the country’s largest integrated refining-chemical producing site.
Steve Pryor, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Company said the proposed project will convert ethylene from a new world-scale steam cracker into premium polyethylene products to serve growing markets around the world. Feedstock and energy supplies will be coordinated with ExxonMobil’s upstream business. “The project will be a win-win for ExxonMobil and Texas, a pro-business state which has attracted more ExxonMobil investment than anywhere in the country, and where we are the state’s largest taxpayer,” he said.
The benefits for the Greater Houston area are significant and will grow if the project receives the necessary permits and proceeds to the construction phase, the Exxon President said. He estimated that the project would provide 10,000 jobs at the peak of construction. The proposed project would also have a multiplier effect and create an additional 3,800 other jobs in the area and increase regional economic activity by $870 million per year.
“Just five years ago, American chemical production was in steady decline due largely to the rising price of natural gas. The U.S. was on the verge of becoming a net chemical importer. Growing supplies of shale gas and gas liquids have changed all that. North American chemical manufacturers now have a major cost advantage over competitors around the world that rely on more expensive, oil-based feedstocks. This has boosted profitability and enabled the industry to regain its position as America’s largest exporter,” Pryor said.
New investment, including a world-scale ethylene steam cracker proposed by ExxonMobil, is expanding the U.S. petrochemical industry’s position as a global producer,” he added.