By ANGEL GONZALEZ
HOUSTON -- ExxonMobil Corp. said Thursday that it is mulling
a multi-billion-dollar expansion at its petrochemical facility near
The project would involve building a new
ethane cracker and other facilities to ExxonMobil's huge
Baytown refining and petrochemical complex, and would
enable the company to "capitalize on abundant supplies of
American natural gas," a spokeswoman said in an email.
Start-up would be scheduled for 2016.
Exxon has filed permit applications with the US Environmental Protection Agency and
the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and expects
the approval process to last about a year.
The company said it would make a financial decision on whether
to build the facilities after the federal and
state governments approve it.
The planned facilities would process up to 1.5
million tpy of chemicals and provide feedstock for a nearby polyethylene
plant, the company said.
Polyethelene is a premium chemical in high demand worldwide,
"ExxonMobil Chemical estimates exports [of chemicals] could
increase significantly as a result of the expansion," and the investment
reflects Exxon's "continued confidence in the natural
gas-driven revitalization of the US chemical industry," the
The move is the latest by a major energy and petrochemical
company to profit from booming natural gas production in the
US, which has rejuvenated the chemical manufacturing sector and
Companies such as Dow Chemical and Royal Dutch Shell have
also recently undertaken petrochemical projects made profitable by low
natural gas prices.
The project would create 10,000 construction jobs and 350 permanent
jobs would be added to Exxon's 6,500-strong Baytown workforce,
the company said.
Dow Jones Newswires