Petrochemical giant Exxon Mobil Chemical Co. with project partner Saudi Arabic Basic Industries Corp plans to build the $10 billion world's largest ethylene cracker plant near Portland in the Corpus Christi area in San Patricio County. But it may be a while before the first shovels of dirt are overturned at the site.
Other sites, in Victoria and two Louisiana parishes, were scouted. Company officials said that the 1,300-acre parcel at Farm-to-Market Road 2986 and U.S.
Highway 181 stood out. Its deep-water access and ready-made pipeline and railway infrastructure were too good to pass up.
Gulf Coast Growth Venture executive Robert W. Tully on Wednesday, during a public event at the Portland Community Center to formally unveil the selection saying that it has all the elements they wanted to see in a location to build their project.
Tully's group is a local arm of Exxon Mobil. Tully was joined in Portland by Exxon Mobil Chemical Co. president Neil Chapman and SABIC vice president and CEO Yousef Abdullah al-Benyan. They each praised the Coastal Bend and the efforts of local and state officials to bring the project to the area.
In a statement, Gov. Greg Abbott, whose staff worked behind the scenes to bring the project to Texas, praised the companies’ decision. He called it “a tremendous win” for both San Patricio County and the entire state.
This record-breaking project illustrates that their business climate is exactly what leading and growing companies are seeking when investing in their future.
When completed, Exxon and SABIC's plant would be capable of producing 1.8 million tons of ethylene each year. The facility would feed plants that produce monoethylene glycol and polyethylene. Both are substances used to make polyester for clothing, bottles and construction materials.
The project is expected to create 600 permanent fulltime jobs, another 11,000 jobs during its five-year construction and inject more than $50 billion into the local economy during the first six years of operations. Such opportunity puts San Patricio County in better position to retain and attract young people into its workforce, rather than lose out to San Antonio, Austin or other larger metro communities, Judge Terry Simpson said.
Exxon plans to file for permits with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality this month. The permitting process is expected to last at least a year. Construction could run about three years. Tully said some “site preparation” – including erecting temporary buildings, road work and work on utilities – will get underway as early as fall. The plant could begin operations as soon as 2021.
Exxon officials have said the plant is expected to consume about 20 million gallons of water per day.
Portland Mayor David Krebs said that although the plant, would be developed outside the city limits of both Portland and Gregory, it has the potential to benefit each community economically.