Oil giant ExxonMobil has disclosed the completion of an ethane cracker with an annual capacity of 1.5 million tons. Commissioning of the ethane cracker which is located in Baytown, Texas is expected to occur in the second quarter of this year. The new ethane cracker was put up as part of the oil major’s efforts to expand the Baytown chemical facility. The ethane cracker will offer ethylene feedstock to Mont Belvieu’s polyethylene lines which started production last year in fall.
“Our new ethane cracker will allow us to economically meet rapidly growing demand for high-performance polyethylene products around the world while continuing to sustain economic development and create jobs for decades to come,” ExxonMobil Chemical Company’s president, John Verity, said.
Thousands of jobs
So far over 10,000 construction jobs have been created by the project as well as 4,000 related employment positions in communities in and around Houston since the start of the project four years ago. Once commissioned some 350 permanent positions are expected to be created while $90 million will be paid as local taxes. Approximately $870 million is expected to be generated on an annual basis in the region’s economic activity as a result of the project.
As part of ExxonMobil’s Gulf initiatives, the oil major intends to put up a petrochemical complex which will be jointly owned with SABIC. The facility will be set up in the San Patricio County of Texas.
As a result of the increase in natural gas and oil energy costs have fallen and new feedstock sources have been created for the chemical and manufacturing sector in the United States. The new chemical capacity of ExxonMobil that is situated in the Gulf is destined to supply export markets that include Asia.
Since skilled workers will be needed to support the growth of the subsector, the oil giant has contributed a total of $2 million in the course of the last half a decade to training initiatives at the community college level where nine institutions in Houston are participating and offering technical skills to returning military veterans, high school graduates and many others.
The completion of the ethane cracker comes in the wake of ExxonMobile reporting fourth-quarter earnings which were disappointing. Despite benefiting from the overhaul of the tax code in the United States which saw the corporate tax rate fall to 21% from 35%, the oil major was let down by below-par operating performances which saw it miss analysts’ estimates.