EXXONMOBIL has announced that its new 1.5m t/y ethane cracker has commenced operations at its integrated chemical and refining complex in Baytown, Texas.
The cracker took four years to complete, and will provide ethylene feedstock to the company’s Mont Belvieu plastics plant, which began production in 2017. The plant can produce around 1.3 m t/y of polyethylene, making it one of the largest polyethylene plants in the world.
ExxonMobil has been investing in new refining and chemical manufacturing in the US Gulf Coast region with the aim to expand its manufacturing and export capacity. The company’s expansion programme consists of projects at new and existing facilities, and investments are likely to continue until at least 2022. The ethane cracker and the polyethylene plant represent ExxonMobil’s largest chemical investment in the US so far.
John Verity, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Company, said:
“Our new ethane cracker will help us meet the growing global demand for high performance plastic products that deliver key sustainability benefits such as lighter packaging weight, lower energy consumption and reduced emissions, further enhancing our competitiveness worldwide. The abundance of domestically produced oil and natural gas has reduced energy costs and created new sources of feedstock for US Gulf refining and chemical manufacturing while creating jobs and expanding economic activity in the area.”
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