ExxonMobil (Houston, TX) announced on Monday plans to add a new production unit at its Beaumont polyethylene plant that will increase capacity by 65%—or approximately 650,000 tons per year—to address the growing demand for high performance plastics. This will be ExxonMobil's third significant investment in the Beaumont area in the past year-and-a-half.
ExxonMobil, which manufactures polyethylene products for packaging applications that deliver light-weight, tough, damage-resistant films, said construction of the new unit has already begun at the plant, where current polyethylene production capacity is one million tons per year. Startup is expected in 2019.
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 energy demand. These investments will not only expand existing refining and chemical capacity, but also stimulate economic growth and create jobs. ExxonMobil claims its investments could create more than 28,000 temporary jobs in construction and more than 1,200 permanent jobs over the next few years and beyond.
“The availability of vast new supplies of U.S. shale gas and associated liquids for feedstock and energy is a significant advantage that enables expansion to meet strong global demand growth in polyethylene,” said Cindy Shulman, Vice President of ExxonMobil’s plastics and resins business.
The Beaumont project builds on supply advantages created by ExxonMobil’s expansion of its Mont Belvieu Plastics Plant in Texas, where two similar polyethylene units are being added. Combined, this multi-billion dollar investment will increase the company’s U.S. polyethylene production by 40%, or nearly two million tonnes per year, making Texas the largest polyethylene supply point for ExxonMobil.
“ExxonMobil is committed to continuing investments in its world-class, integrated facilities,” Shulman said. “We combine our state-of-the-art production expertise with a first-class technology organization, which enables us to offer innovative polyethylene products for applications such as flexible food packaging that increases product shelf life and safety.”
The Beaumont expansion project will employ 1,400 construction workers and create 40 permanent jobs upon completion, as well as generate $20 billion in economic activity in the first 13 years of operation based on 2015 Impact Data Source estimates.
“We’re part of the growth in an area that is primed for new business,” said Jason Duncan, Manager of the Beaumont polyethylene plant. “The expansion of the polyethylene plant is now ExxonMobil’s third significant investment in the Beaumont area over the past 18 months, the impact of which will benefit the local economy in the years to come.”
ExxonMobil’s previously announced investments at Beaumont include expansion of the refinery’s crude refining capacity in 2015 and, earlier this year, construction of a new unit to increase domestic supply of ultra-low sulfur gasoline and diesel.