It’s official: ExxonMobil Chemical Company and SABIC have picked San Patricio County, Texas, as the site for a potential petrochemical complex on the U.S. Gulf Coast. If it gets the financial green light, the complex would include a world-scale ethane steam cracker able to produce 1.8 million tons of ethylene per year, which would feed a monoethylene glycol unit and two polyethylene units. Industrial Info has been tracking the proposed projects since summer 2016.

Part of ExxonMobil’s 10-year, $20 billion Gulf Coast growth initiative, the project would 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 expected to generate more than $22 billion in economic output during the construction phase and more than $50 billion in economic output during the first six years of operations.

The planned petrochemical complex is part of a wave of ethylene cracker projects in the Gulf Coast region, as inexpensive natural gas from shale formations becomes a primary feedstock for ethylene production. Other companies planning ethylene cracker construction projects in the Gulf Coast region include Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA, which is building an ethane cracker in Port Arthur, Texas, and Formosa Plastics, which is building a petrochemical complex in Saint James Parish, Louisiana.

Among the largest Gulf Coast ethylene cracker projects being tracked by Industrial Info is Sasol Limited's (NYSE:SSL) (Johannesburg, South Africa) massive Lake Charles Chemical Project in Louisiana, which will include a 1.5 million-ton-per-year ethane cracker and six downstream units.

Dow Chemical Company recently completed mechanical production on an ethylene production unit in Freeport, Texas, that will feed more than $6 billion in projects along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

And in February, the Ingleside Ethylene, LLC, ethane cracker started production at Occidental Chemical Corporation's (Oxychem) Ingleside complex, near Corpus Christi, Texas.

Trey Hamblet, Industrial Info's vice president of research for the Chemical Processing Industry, notes these are exciting times for Gulf Coast petrochemicals producers.

"Within just the last few weeks we have witnessed the startup of the Ingleside project, mechanical completion by Dow Chemical, financial approval by Total and confirmation of site selection by Exxon,” Hamblet said. “Each of these activities taking place all within just weeks of each other continues to demonstrate the level of confidence there is in the future capacity being proposed."

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