ExxonMobil Chemical Co. has completed two high-performance polyethylene lines at its Mont Belvieu, TX, plastics plant. Production is expected to begin during the third quarter.

The two 650,000 ton per year lines will process ethylene feedstock from a steam cracker currently under construction at the Baytown complex.

“As an early mover to complete a polyethylene project fueled by the shale gas revolution, this world-scale, state-of-the-art facility will double the plant’s production capacity, making it one of the largest polyethylene plants in the world,” said ExxonMobil Chemical President Neil Chapman.

The project enables ExxonMobil Chemical to supply “rapidly growing demand” for high-value polyethylene products, the company said. The polyethylene product will be shipped to customers around the world.

In a Today in Energy note January 17, the U.S. Energy Information (EIA) administration said expansions at existing U.S. ethylene plants contributed to a 170,000 b/d increase in ethane consumption between 2013 and 2016. “By mid-2018, construction is expected to be completed at six new ethylene plants and one restarted plant, collectively capable of using 450,000 b/d of ethane feedstock,” the EIA said.

The Baytown expansion project is one of 11 that ExxonMobil announced as part of its 10-year, $20 billionGrowing the Gulf initiative.

“As the U.S. continues to produce abundant supplies of oil and natural gas, ExxonMobil is investing billions of dollars along the U.S. Gulf Coast to help meet growing global demand. These investments will not only expand existing refining and chemical capacity, but also stimulate economic growth and create jobs,” Chapman said.

ExxonMobil’s Baytown area is the largest integrated petrochemical complex in the United States and is one of the most technologically advanced refining and petrochemical complexes in the world. It is located 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 a technology center.