March 7, 2017 - 10:43 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Exxon Mobil Corp, the world's largest publicly traded oil producer, said on Monday, march 6 it would invest $20 billion through 2022 to expand its chemical and oil refining plants on the U.S. Gulf Coast, Reuters reports.
The investments at 11 sites should create 35,000 temporary construction jobs and 12,000 permanent jobs, Chief Executive Darren Woods said in a speech at CERAWeek, the world's largest gathering of energy executives.
Some of the expansions began in 2013, but the scope of the project is now growing and the timeline extended, Exxon said.
"Exxon Mobil is building a manufacturing powerhouse along the U.S. Gulf Coast," Woods said. "These businesses are leveraging the shale revolution to manufacture cleaner fuels and more energy-efficient plastics."
The investments across Texas and Louisiana will take advantage of cheap shale gas to make plastics and other chemicals for export. The strategy builds on prior steps Exxon and peers, including Dow Chemical Co (DOW.N), have taken in the wake of the American shale expansion, which sharply cut production costs.
"The supply is here. The demand is there. We want to keep connecting those dots," Woods said.
Exxon last month pledged to boost this year's spending by 16 percent to expand operations, especially in shale production, after the company posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by rising oil prices and lower costs.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who tapped former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state, praised the company's spending plans as an example of "a true American success story." Most of the permanent jobs are expected to pay more than $100,000 per year.
"This is exactly the kind of investment, economic development and job creation that will help put Americans back to work," Trump said.
The bulk of the expansion will take place in Beaumont, Texas, with plans to expand polyethylene production, oil refining capacity and liquefied natural gas exports.
Exxon also will increase its lubricant manufacturing capacity and potentially build a new refinery to produce ethane, a key building block for chemical production.