ExxonMobil starts up PE line; capacity up by 65%

US firm ExxonMobil has started production on a new high-performance polyethylene (PE) line at its Beaumont, Texas, PE plant. The expansion increases plant production capacity by 65% or 650,000 tonnes/year, bringing site capacity to nearly 1.7 million tonnes/year.

This expansion builds upon supply advantages created by ExxonMobil’s two new performance PE lines, which began production in 2017 at the company’s manufacturing site in Mont Belvieu, Texas. Together, these multi-billion dollar investments will help meet strong global demand growth for PE, particularly high-performance products used for liquid and food packaging, construction liners and agricultural films.

“The availability of new supplies of domestically produced natural gas liquids provides us with a significant advantage when expanding polyethylene production to meet worldwide demand growth,” said Karen McKee, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Company. “Our unique polyethylene products offer enhanced performance benefits to our customers, including strength and ease of processing, compared with commodity products.”

The project created 2,000 jobs during peak construction and currently supports approximately 40 permanent jobs. Operations associated with the Beaumont expansion are expected to increase regional economic activity by US$20 billion in the first 13 years, according to research completed in 2015 by Impact Data Source.

Beaumont’s PE plant expansion is part of ExxonMobil’s 2017 Growing the Gulf initiative, which included plans to build and expand manufacturing facilities along the US Gulf Coast, creating more than 45,000 high-paying jobs across the region.