ExxonMobil Corp. on Thursday launched a $2 billion investment to expand its already massive chemical complex in Baytown east of Houston.
The Baytown facility is the largest integrated petrochemical complex in the United States, situated on 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.
The expansion would be in addition to the supermajor’s Growing the Gulf initiative, a $20 billion effort launched two years ago. The initiative was created to build and expand manufacturing facilities along the Gulf Coast to take advantage of Lower 48 natural gas and oil reserves, particularly from the Permian Basin, ExxonMobil’s No. 1 onshore target, where it has at least 10 billion boe.
“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,” CEO Darren W. Woods said.
EY (Ernst & Young) was commissioned to examine the contributions ExxonMobil made to the U.S. economy in 2017, when the Growing the Gulf initiative was launched. The research also issued on Thursday concluded that ExxonMobil contributed more than $43 billion to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and direct, indirect and induced economic activity supported nearly 177,000 jobs across the country.
“This research, focused on a single year, is a powerful snapshot of how our business in the United States directly benefits the American economy,” Woods said. “It underscores the many ways that the company and our employees are contributing to prosperity across the country.”
The research also found that in 2017, the U.S. operations supported nearly $6.7 billion of direct labor income, averaging $208,000/worker in total annual compensation, including wages and benefits. The impact of operations and investments included more than $7 billion of tax and royalty payments, with capital investments in 20 states.
“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,” Woods said. “Global demand for chemicals is expected to be greater than energy demand growth and GDP growth over the next 20 years.”
The Baytown expansion, expected to start up in 2022, is to include a Vistamaxx performance polymer unit that could produce about 400,000 tons of polymers a year. The project also would enable ExxonMobil to enter the linear alpha olefins market as the new unit would produce about 350,000 tons/year.