ExxonMobil considers USD240 million upgrade of Baton Rouge refinery
Photo courtesy of ExxonMobil

ExxonMobil considers USD240 million upgrade of Baton Rouge refinery

ExxonMobil is considering upgrading its Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.A. refinery at a cost exceeding USD240 million, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced.

The suite of projects would improve processing capability, increase flexibility for meeting market demand, advance overall site competitiveness, and install technology for a voluntary 10% reduction of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. The projects are pending final engineering, design and investment decisions. A decision to proceed will be made in 2021, he said.

The projects would retain 1,300 existing jobs at the Baton Rouge refinery. ExxonMobil estimates the projects would support more than 600 construction jobs on-site over three years. The investment also would provide more than 20 full-time job opportunities for graduates of the North Baton Rouge Industrial Training Initiative, a collaborative program spearheaded by ExxonMobil in 2012 to provide no-cost, fast-tracked industrial craft training for community residents.

On November 30, ExxonMobil announced that it has completed a review of its forward business plans and said it will prioritise near-term capital spending on advantaged assets with the highest potential future value. However, no mention was made regarding the Baton Rouge refinery.

“ExxonMobil has operated in Baton Rouge for more than 110 years and has provided high-quality jobs for decades at the integrated refinery and chemical plant complex,” Edwards said. “The 2019 announcement of the company’s decision to progress the Baton Rouge polypropylene project, combined with this potential investment, demonstrates that ExxonMobil has confidence in the future of Louisiana and in our outstanding workforce. Louisiana looks forward to working with ExxonMobil to make this investment happen.”    

“We are proud of our long history in Louisiana, and I’m very excited about the positive potential of this investment for ExxonMobil and for the state, especially during this challenging economic time for industry,” said Plant Manager Gloria Moncada of the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Refinery. “This suite of projects positions our site for future investment at our refinery and chemical plants in Baton Rouge. We look forward to working with Gov. Edwards and our local community stakeholders in partnership as we move toward a final decision.”

To secure the investment, Louisiana Economic Development has offered ExxonMobil the comprehensive workforce solutions of LED FastStart®, ranked the No. 1 state workforce training program in the U.S. for the past 11 years. The company also is expected to utilise the state’s offer of the Industrial Tax Exemption Program.

The projects would generate approximately USD5 million in sales tax revenue and more than USD40 million in property tax revenue, according to company projections. ExxonMobil would focus on providing supplier opportunities specifically to North Baton Rouge businesses.

After a 1909 groundbreaking in Baton Rouge, the ExxonMobil Refinery has grown to be part of a world-scale, integrated refining and petrochemical complex providing fuels, lubricants and wax products to customers around the world. Local operations include the Baton Rouge Refinery, Chemical Plant, Plastics Plant, Resins Plant, Polyolefins Plant and Port Allen Lubricants Plant. Together, these facilities produce more than 3.6 billion gallons of gasoline and billions of pounds of petrochemical products annually. 

In November 2019, ExxonMobil broke ground for its more than USD500 million polypropylene project that will create 65 new jobs, result in 219 new indirect jobs, generate 600 construction jobs and double the capacity at the Baton Rouge Polyolefins Plant.