ExxonMobil begins expanding Baytown ethylene, PE

14:26 PM | June 19, 2014 | Clay Boswell

ExxonMobil Chemical says it has begun constructing second steam cracker at its Baytown, TX, facility and two downstream polyethylene (PE) lines at its Mont Belvieu, TX, plastics plant. EPA gave the project a final greenhouse gas Prevention of Significant Deterioration construction permit last month.

The cracker will have the capacity to produce 1.5 million m.t./year of ethylene from ethane. Each of the new PE lines will have a capacity of 650,000 m.t./year.

“The project is made possible in large part by abundant, affordable supplies of US natural gas for energy and chemical feedstock,” says Steve Pryor, president of ExxonMobil Chemical. “Shale development has provided US chemical producers a double benefit as an energy source and as a key raw material to make plastics and other essential products, creating jobs and economic activity across the value chain.”

ExxonMobil says the project will employ about 10,000 construction workers; create 4,000 related jobs in nearby communities; and result in 350 permanent positions at the Baytown complex.

The company has awarded construction contracts to Linde's North American engineering business and Bechtel's oil, gas, and chemicals business to build olefins recovery units at the Baytown olefins plant. Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding and Huertey Petrochem will construct the new olefins furnaces. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will construct the two new PE lines at Mont Belvieu, and Jacobs Engineering will oversee enabling works and interconnections at both locations.