Baytown-West Chambers County Economic Development Foundation | 1300 Rollingbrook Dr., Suite 610 | Baytown, TX 77521 | 281.420.2961 |

Local industries provide updates on current projects

December 4, 2016


Representatives from local industries gathered at Lee College to discuss the impact their expansions are having on the community and economy at the third annual Baytown-West Chambers County Industrial Expansion Symposium.

The Friday event was hosted by the Lee College Center for Workforce and Community Development and the Baytown-West Chambers County Economic Development Foundation. Baytown Mayor Stephen DonCarlos spoke about how industries are contributing to the economic growth of the area.

“You probably heard the humming sound coming in. It is an enormous economic engine, which is what our area is right now,” DonCarlos said. “And it is not just fueling Texas in major way, but most of the country. We produce 60 percent of the (Gross National Product) in the USA. It is an amazing time to be an elected official or a citizen of the southeast Texas region. Most of us have never seen economic expansion to this level and may never again in our lifetimes.”

ExxonMobil North American Growth Project Executive Paul Guilfoyle talked about the impact of the company’s expansions, which includes a new ethane steam cracker at Baytown Olefins Plant and two new polyethylene lines at Mont Belvieu Plastics plant. He added that these expansions would bring more than 10,000 construction jobs, 4,000 direct and indirect jobs, $870 million annually to regional economy, and $3.3 billion annually to national economy.

“This is the largest investment ExxonMobil Chemical has made in the U.S.,” Guilfoyle said. “The (ethane steam cracker) is about the same size as Chevron Phillips’ cracker, about 1.5 million pounds of ethane. It will be the largest steam cracker in the world and, once completed, it will make Baytown Olefins Plant the largest ethane producer in the world. And when we are finished

By the numbers
in Mont Belvieu, where we are putting our polyethylene plants, it will make that the largest supplier of polyethylene in the world. We are very proud of this.” The Baytown Olefins Plant ethane steam cracker is expected to increase regional economic activity by about $870 million per year and generate more than $90 million per year in additional tax revenues for local communities. Guilfoyle also mentioned how the petrochemical giant has formed partnerships with Baytown, helping to fund new police officers as well as working with the city to perform heavy hauls of equipment. They also replaced about 2,000 trees that had to be cut down in order to move the giant pipelines.

“Why build these plants in Baytown and Mont Belvieu?” Guilfoyle said. “There are shale developments all across the country, and we could have built the plants in any number of locations. The lines expansion of feedstock pipeline is bringing feedstock from the fields to the industry. All those lead to Mont Belvieu. Because of the expansions in the (Natural Gas Line) fractionation and access to the Port of Houston, and pipeline infrastructure and service industries already here, that makes building these plants here a win for us.”

Today, the facility’s operations have made a regional economic impact of $7.13 billion. It also provides 14,787 jobs related to the facility and there are about $324 million in annual salaries, wages and benefits at the complex.

Chevron Phillips
Chevron Phillips Plant Manager Mitch Krutilek spoke about how his plant, located at Interstate 10 and Sjolander Road, has been helping the community and economy since 1963, when it was Gulf Oil.

“We have one ethane cracker in Baytown that produces 3.3 billion pounds per year and two polyethylene units in Old Ocean that produce 1.1 billion pounds per year,” Krutilek said. “And we’ve hired more than 300 new employees since the project was announced.”

Krutilek said that Chevron Phillips employs 960 direct employees and 1,200 nested contractors. It also produces ethylene, polyethylene, propylene, and alpha olefins, 1-hexene.

“We are currently at peak construction in Baytown with 5,000-plus workers per day and construction is 85 percent complete,” Krutilek said. “A start-up is planned for second half of 2017.”

Krutilek pointed out other Chevron Phillips successful projects including starting up the world’s largest on-purpose 1-hexene plant in June 2014, which created 1,000 temporary jobs and 14 longterm jobs. There was also the 2015 start up of the Normal Alpha Olefin expansion that added 20 percent more capacity to current NAO unit and created 600 temporary jobs. In addition, their polyalphaolefins expansion study is expected to start up in early 2017 and will add 20 percent more capacity to the current PAO unit and create 135 temporary jobs.

Enterprise Products
Enterprise Products Vice President of Houston Region Operations Bob Moss talked about his company has brought eight fractionators online and has a ninth in the works.

“We were the first to recognize the boom in the shale and bring liquids to the area,” Moss said. “Enterprise is ahead of the curve on the deferral of additional fractionation capacity. The ‘me, too’ strategies have caused some to bring on capacity when it is not needed. Enterprise is not a ‘me, too’ company.”

Moss said Enterprise is expanding its footprint in the Permian Basin, bringing its gas processing capacity to 800 million cubic feet per day. They have also added a South Eddy cryogenic gas processing plant facility and related pipelines, which will provide 25,000 barrels a day of NGL liquids to the Baytown region. It was completed in May. Additionally, Enterprise has joined with Oxy JV in the Delaware Basin for a cryogenic gas processing plant and related pipelines. This will produce 150 MMcf/d of natural gas and more than 22 millions of barrels a day of NGLs. Another cryogenic gas processing plant in the Delaware Basin from Enterprise was announced in June. This will produce 300 MMcf/d and 40,000 barrels of NGL liquids per day to the Mont Belvieu site. It is expected to start up in second quarter of 2018.

Enterprise is also building an 82-mile, 12-inch NGL pipeline to connect to the Chaparral pipeline to provide access to Mont Belvieu.

Moss also spoke of the 270-mile, 20-inch Aegis pipeline, which he said would create a 500-mile header system from Corpus Christi to the Mississippi River, when combined with their non-FERC regulated South Texas ethane pipeline.

“It will provides unparalleled connectivity and reliability for Gulf Coast petrochemical customers,” Moss said. “What does it all mean? Job growth. Enterprise has added 200 fulltime jobs and 130 resident contractors since 2010.”

Covestro Vice President of Production and Technology Craig Graybill talked about how Covestro is the leading global polymer producer in polyurethanes and its derivatives as well as polycarbonates.

“We have a proven track record of process and product innovation customer proximity as well as market-driven solutions,” Graybill said. “We have a state-of-the-art asset base with leading process technology and total production capacity of 4,800 kilotons distributed across the eight world-scale production facilities in three main regions.”

The Germany-based Covestro has 15,750 employees globally with nearly 2,000 workers at the Baytown facility.

Graybill said Covestro is meeting the needs of global trends such as climate change, mobility, growing population, and increasing urbanization.

“Our is to leverage industry to capture growth in their industries and improve our asset and cost base,” Graybill said. “We aim to capture the market growth over the next years with existing world-scale assets and optimize asset footprints through site consolidation, restructuring and efficiency projects.”

Graybill also said the company wants to improve their cost position by 2019, align overall costs with best in class chemical industry benchmarks, protect and build profitable competitive positions through focused research and development, and embed sustainability in every element of the strategy.

The Solar Impulse aircraft, the first solar-powered plan to fly around the world, was something Graybill said the company was especially proud of helping to create.

“Advancements in plastics and material solutions made this journey possible,” he said. “We put in ultra-lightweight polyurethane insulating foam to encapsulate the cockpit and this kept the pilot comfortable in extreme temperatures. Also, a multi-layer polycarbonate windscreen provided scratch-resistant glass-like performance and thermal insulation. And coating and adhesives provided durability on the wings surfaces and gave them their beautiful and distinguishing silver finish.”

Former Baytown intern Paige Kassalen was the only U.S. female engineer on the ground crew. Covestro has also made investments in community with solar-powered trash/recycling bins, helped preserve habitats of bees and butterflies through the Gulf Coast monarch project and assisted with the Texas Conservation Fund. In addition, they have donated to the United Way of Greater Baytown and Chambers County campaign, provided funds for local scholarships, and contributed to Habitat for Humanity as well as the Bay Area Homeless Services.

By Matt Hollis