ExxonMobil announced plans to add a new production unit at its Beaumont polyethylene plant that will increase capacity by 65% or approximately 650,000 tonnes per year — to meet growing demand for high-performance plastics.
“The availability of vast new supplies of U.S. shale gas and associated liquids for feedstock and energy is a significant advantage that enables expansion to meet strong global demand growth in polyethylene,” said Cindy Shulman, vice president of ExxonMobil’s plastics and resins business.
The Beaumont project builds on supply advantages created by ExxonMobil’s expansion of its Mont Belvieu Plastics Plant in Texas, where two similar polyethylene units are being added. Combined, this multi-billion dollar investment will increase the company’s U.S. polyethylene production by 40%, or nearly two million tonnes per year, making Texas the largest polyethylene supply point for ExxonMobil.
“ExxonMobil is committed to continuing investments in its world-class, integrated facilities,” Shulman said. “We combine our state-of-the-art production expertise with a first-class technology organization, which enables us to offer innovative polyethylene products for applications such as flexible food packaging that increases product shelf life and safety.”
The Beaumont expansion project will employ 1,400 construction workers and create 40 permanent jobs upon completion, as well as generate USD20 billion in economic activity in the first 13 years of operation based on 2015 Impact Data Source estimates.
“We’re part of the growth in an area that is primed for new business,” said Jason Duncan, manager of the Beaumont polyethylene plant. “The expansion of the polyethylene plant is now ExxonMobil’s third significant investment in the Beaumont area over the past 18 months, the impact of which will benefit the local economy in the years to come.”
ExxonMobil’s previously announced investments at Beaumont include expansion of the refinery’s crude refining capacity in 2015 and, earlier this year, construction of a new unit to increase domestic supply of ultra-low sulphur gasoline and diesel fuel.
ExxonMobil’s integrated operations in Beaumont, Texas, include refining and chemical manufacturing. The operations have 2,100 employees, accounting for one out of every seven jobs in the Beaumont area, according to the economic analysis firm, the Perryman group.