ExxonMobil Chemical Co. has completed mechanical work on two major new polyethylene resin production lines in Mont Belvieu, Texas.
The lines will have combined annual capacity of almost 3 billion pounds. They're expected to begin production in the third quarter of 2017.
"As an early mover to complete a PE project fueled by the shale gas revolution, this world-scale, state-of-the-art facility will double the plant's production capacity, making it one of the largest PE plants in the world," ExxonMobil Chemical President Neil Chapman said in a May 23 news release.
The new lines enable ExxonMobil to economically supply a rapidly growing demand for high-value PE products, officials added. These high-performance materials deliver sustainability benefits such as lighter packaging weight, lower energy consumption and reduced emissions, they said.
The new PE lines will process ethylene feedstock from a new steam cracker under construction at ExxonMobil's Baytown location, about 15 miles away.
The finished PE resins will be shipped to customers around the world. The Baytown expansion project is one of 11 ExxonMobil announced as part of its 10-year, $20 billion Growing the Gulf plan. Those projects are expected to create more than 35,000 construction jobs and more than 12,000 full-time jobs.
"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 demand," Chapman said. "These investments will not only expand existing refining and chemical capacity, but also stimulate economic growth and create jobs."
Houston-based ExxonMobil and several other petrochemicals firms are adding PE capacity on the U.S. Gulf Coast because of newfound supplies of natural gas, which can be used as a feedstock.
Other Gulf Coast expansion projects from Dow Chemical Co., Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. and Ineos Sasol are expected to add more than 7 billion pounds of PE resin capacity to the region by the end of the year. Additional expansions from ExxonMobil, Formosa Plastics Corp. USA and LyondellBasell Industries should add more PE resin capacity in excess of 5 billion pounds by the end of 2018.