Exxon wrapping up completion of one of the world's largest polyethylene plants near Houston

Fuel Fix:
Exxon Mobil said Monday it has completed a large plastics plant expansion in Mont Belvieu as part of a massive, multibillion-dollar petrochemical growth effort in the Houston area.

Exxon Mobil said it finished mechanical construction of two plastics facilities at its existing plant that will add 1.3 million metric tons of annual capacity to manufacture the world’s most common plastic, polyethylene. The plastic is created in the form of tiny plastic resin balls to be shipped overseas to meet the rapidly growing demand in nation’s with expanding middle classes like China and India.

The new plastic facilities won’t begin operation until some point in the third quarter of the year. A massive ethane cracker plant expansion is still under construction at Exxon Mobil’s large Baytown complex. The ethane cracker takes cheap and abundant ethane that’s found in shale natural gas liquids and converts the ethane into ethylene, which is the primary building block for most plastics. Easy access to the affordable shale ethane is the primary reason Exxon is continuing to expand its Texas petrochemical facilities.

“As an early mover to complete a polyethylene project fueled by the shale gas revolution, this world-scale, state-of-the-art facility will double the plant’s production capacity, making it one of the largest polyethylene plants in the world,” said Neil Chapman, president of Exxon Mobil Chemical.
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The plant will operate with about 350 full-time employees when it comes online.  It is one of the downstream benefits of the shale gas revolution, and as I have noted before, it is an industry that is necessary to modern life for which the environmentalists have no alternative.

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