ExxonMobil Corp. has approved a $2 billion expansion project in Baytown, Texas, that will include major capacity expansions for elastomers and specialty olefins.
The expansion is expected to create 2,000 construction jobs and will maximize increased production from the Permian shale oil basin, officials with ExxonMobil in Irving, Texas, said in a May 2 news release.
Capacity expansions at the 3,400-acre Baytown site, which is marking its 100th anniversary this year, include a new unit with annual capacity of almost 900 million pounds of Vistamaxx-brand polyolefin elastomers. Officials said that Vistamaxx materials offer higher levels of elasticity, softness and flexibility.
The expansion also will enable ExxonMobil to enter the market for linear alpha olefins specialty materials. A new unit in Baytown will have annual capacity of almost 800 million pounds of LAO materials. LAOs are used in many applications, including polyethylene for the packaging market, high-performing engine and industrial oils and waxes and building blocks for surfactants.
Production from that Baytown expansion is set to begin in 2022.
"Our substantial investments in the United States support ExxonMobil's long-term growth plans and will result in thousands more high-paying jobs," Chairman and CEO Darren Woods said in the release.
The Baytown expansion is in addition to the company's 2017 Growing the Gulf initiative, which 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.
Woods cited an Ernst & Young study, commissioned by ExxonMobil, which found that in 2017 ExxonMobil contributed more than $43 billion to U.S. gross domestic product and supported nearly 177,000 jobs across the country.
"This research … is a powerful snapshot of how our business in the United States directly benefits the American economy," Woods said. "It underscores the many ways that the company and our employees are contributing to prosperity across the country."
Woods added that the company's recent investments, such as a major expansion of oil and gas production in the Permian Basin and the planned expansion at Baytown, will continue to boost the U.S. economy.
"Global demand for chemicals is expected to be greater than energy demand growth and GDP growth over the next 20 years," he said.
Since 2017, ExxonMobil has added more than 3 billion pounds of annual polyethylene production capacity, mostly at a new facility in Mont Belvieu, Texas.
In July, ExxonMobil opened a massive new ethane cracker in Baytown with annual capacity of more than 3 billion pounds of ethylene feedstock. Officials said at the time that the new capacity will be used to make PE in Mont Belvieu.
In February, ExxonMobil confirmed plans to build a major new polypropylene resin unit in Baton Rouge, La., with annual production capacity of almost 1 billion pounds. Construction on the new PP unit will begin this year, with production set to start in 2021. The project is expected to create up to 600 jobs during construction and 65 permanent jobs once completed.
ExxonMobil ranks as one of the world's largest oil and gas suppliers. Its ExxonMobil Chemical unit is a major producer of polyethylene, polypropylene and several specialty plastics.