Announcements of expansions in both plant footprints and polymer capacity have been pouring in of late, as both resin producers and chemical manufacturers charge ahead to meet increasing demand. ExxonMobil is the latest to make two separate announcements.
The first is the $2-billion Baytown, TX, chemical plant expansion project that is projected to create approximately 2,000 new jobs during construction.
The Baytown expansion is in addition to the company’s Growing the Gulf, an initiative launched in 2017 that outlined plans to build and expand manufacturing facilities along the U.S. Gulf Coast, creating more than 45,000 high-paying jobs across the region.
“Our substantial investments in the United States support ExxonMobil’s long-term growth plans and will result in more high-paying jobs,” said Darren W. Woods, ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO. “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,” said Woods.
The company’s Baytown chemical expansion will allow ExxonMobil to “maximize the value of increased Permian Basin production” and deliver high-demand, high-value products “at the company’s Gulf Coast refining and chemical facilities.”
The expansion, expected to start up in 2022, includes a new Vistamaxx performance polymer unit, which produces materials that offer higher levels of elasticity, softness and flexibility. The new unit will produce about 400,000 tons of Vistamaxx polymers a year.
The project also will enable ExxonMobil to enter the linear alpha olefins market, a polymer used in numerous applications including polyethylene plastic for packaging. The new unit will produce about 350,000 tons of linear alpha olefins a year.
In a second announcement, ExxonMobil said it has completed an expansion of its specialty elastomers manufacturing plant in Newport, Wales, which doubles the plant’s manufacturing capacity and increases global manufacturing capacity of Santoprene thermoplastic elastomers by 25%.
“ExxonMobil’s high-performance plastics help make automotive products lighter, resulting in improved fuel efficiency and higher performance, compared with products made with traditional materials,” said Karen McKee, President of ExxonMobil Chemical Co. “This Newport investment doubles the site’s manufacturing capacity of higher-value products.”
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