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Exxon Mobil’s ethane cracker in Baytown up and running

July 26, 2018

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), which has a major presence in Houston, has finished a big project in the Bayou City. 

After four years of construction, the new 1.5 million-ton-per-year ethane cracker at Exxon's Baytown complex is ready for business, according to a press release. It was mechanically complete in February. 

The cracker provides ethylene feedstock — one of the key ingredients for a variety of products, including polyester, anti-freeze, plastic bottles and food packaging — to the two new high-performance polyethylene lines in Mont Belvieu. These lines were mechanically complete last May and began production in October.

Combined, the two projects represent Exxon's largest chemical investment in the U.S. to date, per the release. They're expected to increase regional economic activity by roughly $870 million per year and generate more than $90 million per year in local tax revenues, per the release. They’ve created 350 new permanent positions in the area in addition to creating 14,000 jobs during construction. 

When construction started, contractors on the project included San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp., Linde Engineering North America Inc., Houston-based Wood Group Mustang, Houston-based Dashiell Corp., France-based Huertey Petrochem S.A., California-based Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. and Japan-based companies Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co Ltd. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

“Our new ethane cracker will help us meet the growing global demand for high-performance plastic products that deliver key sustainability benefits such as lighter packaging weight, lower energy consumption and reduced emissions, further enhancing our competitiveness worldwide,” said John Verity, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Co., which is one of Houston's largest petrochemical and chemical companies, per Houston Business Journal research.

By Jen Para, Houston Business Journal