ExxonMobil Corp. and Saudi Basic Industries Corp., i.e. SABIC, on Tuesday created a joint venture (JV) to further advance their Gulf Coast Growth Ventures project, a 1.8 million metric ton ethane cracker proposed for San Patricio County, TX.

The facility, if it advances, also is to include a monoethylene glycol unit and two polyethylene units. Construction of the project, announced in 2016, is pending completion of the environmental permitting process.

San Patricio County on the Texas coast near Corpus Christi was selected as the facility site last year. No final investment decision has been made, but if it goes forward, the plant could be operational in late 2021 or in 2022.

“We look forward to the next phase of the project, which supports not only our goals for global diversification, but also supports Saudi Vision 2030,” said SABIC CEO Yousef Al-Benyan. “In addition, we are proud of the role the project will play in enhancing the economic profile of San Patricio County, TX.”

The JV announced Tuesday is the third between ExxonMobil and SABIC. SABIC is the operating partner for two long-standing JVs with ExxonMobil in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kemya in Jubail and Yanpet in Yanbu.

Creation of the JV represents a “key milestone” that allows the companies to continue advancing the project, which is expected to create 600 permanent jobs, about 3,500 indirect and induced jobs during operations, as well as 6,000 construction jobs during the peak of construction.

“The new joint venture expands our long relationship with SABIC and builds on the success of several other joint projects,” said ExxonMobil Chemical Co. President John Verity. “The project will create value not only for both of our companies, but for the surrounding communities through the creation of jobs and economic growth.”