ExxonMobil/Sabic decide on Corpus Christi for petrochemical plant

US-headquartered ExxonMobil Chemical Company and Riyadh-based Sabic’s joint plans for the development of a petrochemical plant on the US Gulf Coast have been narrowed down to Corpus Christi, San Patricio County, Texas.

The partners had been eyeing four sites for the US$10 billion investment-facility, including two in Louisiana and one other in Texas near Victoria. However, the Corpus Christi site proved to be a strong contender, with reports quoting some US$1.2 billion tax breaks having been given for the project.

The 1,300-acre proposed project will include a world-scale ethane steam cracker capable of producing 1.8 million tonnes/year of ethylene, which would feed a monoethylene glycol unit and two PE units.

The proposed project, one of 11 ExxonMobil announced as part of its ten-year, US$20 billion Growing the Gulf initiative, is expected to create thousands of jobs during the construction phase, as well as 600 new, full-time jobs and 3,500 indirect jobs during operations. It is also expected to generate more than US$22 billion in economic output during the construction phase and more than US$50 billion in economic output during the first six years of operations.

Sabic says the project, currently under study, reflects its strategy to advance the company’s growth in key markets such as the US. Yousef Al-Benyan, Sabic Vice-Chairman/CEO said, “The proposed venture would capture competitive feedstock, capitalise on the growing global demand for ethylene-based products, and reinforce Sabic’s strong position in the value chain.”

ExxonMobil and Sabic have worked together for 35 years in major chemical joint ventures in Saudi Arabia; the proposed project represents the companies’ first potential US-based joint venture.

With site selection completed, ExxonMobil and Sabic will now apply for the necessary air and wastewater permits from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Each company will make a final decision on the investment after the required permits have been granted.

Several companies have firmed up projects in the US Gulf Coast, taking advantage of the supplies of shale-based natural gas as feedstock for their plants.

Recent announcements include Nova Chemicals, a wholly owned subsidiary of the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) of UAE, to enter a proposed joint venture with Austria’s Borealis and French chemical firm Total involving Total’s existing Bayport, Texas, PE facility, development of a new light feed cracker in Port Arthur, Texas, and a new Borstar technology PE facility in Bayport, with expected start-up in 2020. http://plasticsandrubberasia.com/mar2017/company15.html

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