HOUSTON (AP) — Exxon Mobil says it plans to spend $2 billion to expand a chemicals plant next to the Houston Ship Channel and that the project will create 2,000 temporary construction jobs.
The company said Thursday it will build a new unit at the Baytown plant to make chemical compounds that give plastics more elasticity and flexibility, and produce ingredients used in engine and industrial oils.
Exxon says the facility should begin operating in 2022.
CEO Darren Woods says the expansion will help Exxon take advantage of its oil and natural gas production in the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico.
The company believes global demand for chemicals will grow faster than demand for energy over the next 20 years.
“Our substantial investments in the United States support ExxonMobil’s long-term growth plans and will result in thousands more high-paying jobs,” said Woods said. “Through the billions of dollars that we’re investing in the Permian Basin to increase oil production and the expansion at our operations along the Gulf Coast, our company is making significant, lasting contributions to the U.S. economy and the many communities where we operate.”
Woods said the company’s recent investments, such as a major expansion of oil and gas production in the Permian Basin and the planned expansion at Baytown, will continue to boost the U.S. economy.
“Our Baytown chemical expansion will put us in a solid position to maximize the value of increased Permian Basin production and will deliver higher-demand, higher-value products produced at our Gulf Coast refining and chemical facilities,” said Woods.
“Global demand for chemicals is expected to be greater than energy demand growth and GDP growth over the next 20 years,” Woods said.
The expansion includes a new Vistamaxx™ performance polymer unit, which produces products that offer higher levels of elasticity, softness and flexibility, attributes that contribute to a reduction in materials used and increased performance in everyday products. The new unit will produce about 400,000 tons of Vistamaxx™ polymers a year.
The project will also enable ExxonMobil to enter the linear alpha olefins market. Linear alpha olefins are used in numerous applications, including high-performing engine and industrial oils, waxes and building blocks for surfactants, polyethylene plastic for packaging, and other specialty chemicals. The new unit will produce about 350,000 tons of linear alpha olefins a year.
ExxonMobil’s Baytown facility is the largest integrated petrochemical complex in the U.S. and is one of the most technologically advanced refining and petrochemical complexes in the world. Founded in 1919, the complex is located on approximately 3,400 acres along the Houston Ship Channel, about 25 miles east of Houston. The facility includes a refinery, chemical plant, olefins plant, plastics plant and global technology center.