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ExxonMobil mulls new Gulf Coast plastics facility

ExxonMobil said that it will make a final investment decision later this year on a potential polypropylene production expansion along the US Gulf Coast.

The company started detailed engineering work on a potential US Gulf Coast project to extend polypropylene manufacturing capacity by about 450,000 tons per year.

Planned to be commissioned as early as 2021, the new facility will produce polypropylene to meet increasing demand for high-performance, lightweight durable plastics used in high performance automotive, appliance, and packaging applications.

ExxonMobil Chemical Company president John Verity: “ExxonMobil is well positioned to take advantage of the growing global demand for higher-value products, in both North America and the high-growth Asia Pacific region.

“Abundant supplies of domestically produced oil and natural gas have reduced energy costs and created new sources of feedstock for US chemical manufacturing.

“Most of our planned investment in the Gulf Coast region is focused on supplying emerging markets like Asia with high-demand products, which ultimately will spur new economic growth locally.”

The new facility is expected to create more than 600 jobs during peak construction phase and more than 60 permanent jobs upon entering service.

ExxonMobil plastics and resins vice-president Cindy Shulman said: “Polypropylene delivers performance and sustainability benefits to produce a wide variety of consumer products.

“It’s a versatile material providing high impact resistance and high stiffness to lightweight applications. It is safe, can be recycled and requires less energy to produce when compared with other plastics.”

The new PP plant is one of 13 ExxonMobil’s facilities which are planned to undergo expansion programs in a bid to boost chemical production capacity by around 40% in North America and the Asia Pacific region.

ExxonMobil said that the investments include commissioning of new 1.5 million mt/year steam cracker in Baytown, Texas. The steam cracker is scheduled to be commissioned in the second quarter of this year.