Two polyethylene lines located at ExxonMobil Chemical Company’s plastics plant have been opened. This is in Mont Belvieu, Texas. The capacity of each of the polyethylene lines is 650,000 tons a year translating to approximately 1.3 million tons annually in enhanced capacity. Coupled with rest of the plant the volume of production is expected to be a combined 2.5 million tons a year making it one of the biggest polyethylene factories in the world.
“The expansion of our Mont Belvieu facility further enhances our ability to meet growing global demand for high-performance polyethylene products around the world,” said Exxon Mobil Chemical Co’s president, Neil Chapman, in a statement.
The polyethylene products coming out of the plant will possess various advantages include reduced emissions, lower energy consumption and superior performance packaging that is lighter.The source of most of the parts that will be needed at the polyethylene facility will be obtained from Houston port later this month. At its peak the number of containers that are expected to be shipped from the plant are 200.
With the expanded production capacity ExxonMobil will be in a position to exploit opportunities by a growing market abroad and domestically for plastics as the populations in emerging markets begin to consumer more consumer and food products that are packaged. Per HIS Markit, demand for the base chemical which is ethylene is expected to increase by between 5.5 million and 6 million tons per year when the gross domestic product growth figure is assumed to be above 2.5%.
The project is part of ExxonMobil’s plan to expand operations in Baytown areas as well as the Gulf. Earlier in the year ExxonMobil revealed that it would invest about $20 billion up to the year 2022 in order to expand its oil refining and chemical plants located on the Gulf Coast. About 12,000 permanent employment positions in liquefied natural gas, lubricant, refining and chemical facilities are expected to be created with this investment.
About 90% of the plastics production capacity in the United States is in the Gulf Coast. When Hurricane Harvey hit about 60% of the propylene and ethylene capacity was knocked out.
Per the American Chemistry Council, there have been 301 chemical sector projects in the United States valued at $181 million which have been announced since 2010. The American Chemistry Council is a trade group which represents chemical companies in the United States.