ExxonMobil to invest US$2bn in Texas plant expansion

Article by Amanda Jasi

EXXONMOBIL is to invest US$2bn to expand its chemical plant in Baytown, Texas, US, to maximise the value of increased oil and gas production from the Permian Basin.

The Baytown facility was founded in 1919 and is built on 1375.9 ha of land. It is the largest integrated petrochemical complex in the US and one of the most technologically advanced refining and petrochemicals complexes in the world. The facility includes a refinery, chemical plant, olefins plant, plastics plant, and global technology centre.

The expansion project is to begin in 2022. It is expected to create 2,000 jobs during construction and contribute to 15% in investment returns expected from chemical investments.

It includes a 400,000 t/y Vistamaxx performance polymer unit. The polymer is used to make products with improved elasticity, softness, and flexibility contributing to reduced materials use and increased performance in everyday products.

In addition, the project will allow Exxon to enter the linear alpha olefins market. Linear alpha olefins are used in a number of applications, including high-performing engine and industrial oils, waxes and building blocks for surfactants, polyethylene plastic for packaging, and other specialty chemicals.

This latest investment is one of several that Exxon has recently made in the US Gulf Coast region and is in addition to the company’s 2017 Growing the Gulf initiative. The initiative outlines a plan to build and expand manufacturing facilities along the US Gulf Coast, which is expected to create 45,000 high-paying jobs across the region.

Growing the Gulf projects include increasing polyethene output from Exxon’s Beaumont, Texas plant, a US$20bn investment in 11 existing US sites, and an ethane cracker which started up in 2018. Other Exxon projects in the US Gulf region include an LNG investment which the company committed to in February, and a third unit at its Beaumont refinery in Texas.

Exxon Chairman and CEO, Darren Woods, said that the company’s recent investments, such as major expansion of oil and gas production in the Permian Basin and the Baytown expansion, will help to boost the US economy and help create jobs. He added that global chemicals demand is expected to be greater than energy demand growth and gross domestic product growth over the next 20 years.

Woods said: “Our Baytown chemical expansion will put us in a solid position to maximise the value of increased Permian Basin production and will deliver higher-demand, higher-value products produced at our Gulf Coast refining and chemical facilities.”

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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