Skip to comments.Exxon Mobil plans multibillion-dollar Baytown plant expansion
Posted on 03/06/2013 5:41:30 AM PST by thackney
Exxon Mobil Corp. is expanding the capacity of its Baytown complex to boost its capacity for turning natural gas into petrochemical building blocks, a multibillion-dollar upgrade the company believes makes sense even if gas prices rise from lows that have driven a manufacturing surge.
The company announced the project Tuesday afternoon at the IHS CERAWeek conference, a five-day gathering of industry heavyweights at the Hilton Americas downtown. Permit applications are pending.
Irving-based Exxon Mobil is the largest U.S. producer of natural gas and plans to leverage its bounty into a huge expansion of its petrochemical facilities in the Gulf Coast, including the new steam cracking capacity at its Baytown plant. It did not put a precise price tag on the work.
When the permits are approved, construction of the plant will take about three years, and Exxon Mobil says the plant could be up and running by the end of 2016.
The project is going to be an expansion of our Baytown project, which is already the largest integrated refining complex in the country, said Steve Pryor, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Co. It builds on our strengths as an integrated petrochemical company and will take advantage of all the shale gas that is coming on.
Technological advances in recent years have helped producers unlock natural gas and oil from tight shale formations.
The expansion will increase the Baytown plants capacity to convert ethane, a natural gas liquid, into the chemical building block ethylene, and from that to produce the plastic polyethylene.
Pryor said that the expanded plant will have features that will keep it economically competitive, even if the price of natural gas rises.
One expected advantage is that the plant will produce a premium-grade polyethylene, which Pryor said can be used to make lighter and lower-cost packaging products with smaller environmental footprints.
The expanded plant also will enjoy economies of scale, Pryor said, and will use new environmental technology that will allow it to operate within already permitted emission limits.
And the company also has plenty of its own natural gas, which petrochemical plants use both as fuel and raw material. Exxon Mobil bought XTO Energy in 2009 for $41 billion, a big bet on the shale gas boom. Its looking for ways to protect that investment as gas hovers around a relatively low price of $3.50 per million British thermal units.
Exxon Mobil, the nations largest chemical manufacturer, had 2012 profit of $3.9 billion in its chemical division on revenue of $61 billion, Pryor said.
The company estimates that the plant expansion will create 10,000 area jobs during its construction and will create about $870 million of economic activity annually. The Baytown complex now employs about 6,000 workers, and the expansion will add 350, the company said.
Exxon hopes that the expected boost to the economy will help speed along the permitting process.
Won’t happen. The EPA will find a rare fuzzwort spider or new species of sand snail whose habitat will be destroyed. All construction will cease.
“THE CITY OF BAYTOWN
WHERE OIL AND WATER REALLY DO MIX”
It is a huge refinery complex.
If you have ever been to Baytown and seen the refinery complex, you'd know that would be impossible.
Baytown is not some remote area. The ExxonMobil Baytown Area is the largest petroleum & petrochemical complex in the United States.
No doubt. Their main complex covers five square miles, and includes the refinery, two chemical plants, regional engineering office and global technology center.
Too bad that these refineries have to expand in Hurricane Alley because the energy parasites on both coasts won’t allow development off their shores. Then consumers bitch and moan when rigs and refineries have to shut down during a hurricane threat and prices rise.
Most of the shutdowns come from offshore production and delay of oil shipments landing at docks. Although there are occasional refinery shutdowns due to hurricanes, it is not a common event every year.
We still import more oil than we produce domestically. We are very dependent on those tankers offloading on a regular basis.
Yeah, but the EPA will find something. Probably a ruby throated yellow rat or something like that. (sarc)
The threatened species in Baytown are Greenie Weenies.
I forget the name of the company, but they are planning on opening a fabrication yard in Galveston for fabricating offshore rigs.
I think they are mostly going to be building deep water rigs.
From what I’ve heard they are trying to move as much fabrication work as possible out of union states because of delays and cost overruns.