ExxonMobil Corp. will ramp up construction on world-scale petrochemical projects in China and Singapore, as well as a new plant in South Korea, as part of announced plans to invest between $25 to $30 billion annually in its businesses over the next five years. At an annual briefing for investment analysts at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson said the capital outlays show how the company is “focused on the long term.”
ExxonMobil Chemical currently produces the battery separator film at a plant in Nasu, Japan. On Oct. 9, 2008, it broke ground on a new plant for the product in with Japanese affiliate TonenGeneral. Start-up for that site is expected in late 2009. ExxonMobil says its separator film improves the power, capacity, stability, and safety of lithium-ion batteries, allowing the use of smaller, more powerful batteries in vehicles. A Reuters report pegged the cost of the new South Korean facility at $322.1 million, with TonenGeneral reporting it will have the capacity to produce more than 30 million sq m of film/yr, with the opportunity for future expansion.
According to a report from SBI, the global rechargeable battery sector reached worldwide sales of $36 billion in 2008 and is forecast to rise to $51 billion by 2013. Lithium-ion battery chemistry is quickly replacing lead-acid and nickel-based systems, with its research funding outpacing all other battery technologies combined. The portable rechargeable battery market, of which lithium-ion has a 75% share, is the fastest growing segment of the rechargeable battery market, growing 20% in 2008.
Company wide, ExxonMobil had $99 billion in capital expenditures from 2004 to 2008, with 2008 spending of $2.8 billion on its chemical unit - the highest over that span but still trailing investments in upstream and downstream businesses by a wide margin. By geographic location, Asia Pacific and the Middle East led the way in capital investments. Within its chemicals portfolio, ExxonMobil highlighted its “premium products,” particularly metallocene resins, sales of which it says have more than tripled since 2004.
In terms of oil production, ExxonMobil said, assuming peak production, it added the net equivalent of 260,000 barrels/day (bbl/day) in 2008 with the initiation of eight major projects. Nine more major projects are expected to begin production in 2009, which at their peak, are expected to add the net equivalent of 485,000 bbl/day. —[email protected]