Exxon Mobil will build or expand 11 projects along the U.S. Gulf Coast in a $20-billion, 10-year program, Darren Woods, Exxon Mobil Corp.’s chairman and CEO, told the annual CERAWeek energy conference in Houston earlier this month.
Principal sites for expansion will include Exxon’s Baton Rouge Refinery in Louisiana and the Beaumont Area Complex, Baytown Refinery and Golden Pass LNG terminal in Texas. In addition, Exxon Mobil and Saudi Arabia-based chemical manufacturer SABIC are evaluating a joint project to construct a plastics manufacturing plant in Texas or Louisiana.
The largest single investment will be $10 billion to add three 5.2-million-tonne-per-year natural-gas liquefaction trains at the Golden Pass LNG import terminal, under development in Sabine Pass, Texas.
Three miles of 24-in. pipeline and additional compressor stations will be included in the project, which is awaiting regulatory and government approvals. Construction is expected to take five years.
In Beaumont, Exxon plans construction to increase production of ultra-low-sulfur fuels by 40,000 barrels per day. Startup is expected in 2018. Construction of a new production unit at the polyethylene plant to increase capacity by 65% is also planned. Startup is expected in 2019.
Construction to expand light-crude refining capacity is being considered, too. If the project proceeds, construction would begin in 2019. The company has not furnished cost estimates for any of the projects.
Substantial construction has been completed in Baytown. The only project remaining is a multibillion-dollar, 1.5-million tpy ethane steam cracker to provide feedstock for two new 650,000-tons-per-year high-performance polyethylene units. Construction began in 2014; startup is expected this year.
The proposed multibillion-dollar Exxon-SABIC joint venture would include a 1.8-million tpy ethane cracker and three derivative units. Two counties each in Texas and Louisiana are being considered for the site.
The rapid growth in hydrocarbons production unleashed by hydraulic fracturing is driving the national demand for infrastructure and making the U.S. “a leading producer of oil and natural gas, which is incentivizing U.S. manufacturing to invest and grow,” Exxon’s Woods told CERAWeek. “These projects are export machines, generating products that fast-growing nations need to support larger populations with higher standards of living. … The supply is here; the demand is there. We want to keep connecting those dots,” he said.