Exxon begins operation at its huge new petrochemical plant east of Houston in Baytown

Bloomberg/Fuel Fix:
Exxon Mobil said Thursday it commenced operations at its multibillion-dollar petrochemical expansion at its massive Baytown complex.

The years-in-the-making project includes its new crown jewel ethane cracker that's designed to churn out billions of pounds a year of ethylene, which is the primary feedstock for the world's most common plastics.

The ethane cracker, which includes eight 23-story-tall furnaces, takes cheap and abundant ethane that's found in shale natural gas liquids and converts it into ethylene. Easy access to the affordable shale ethane is the primary reason Exxon is continuing to expand its Texas petrochemical facilities.

The project was delayed a few months in part by flooding that occurred during Hurricane Harvey nearly a year ago.

Last year Exxon Mobil completed two new plastics facilities at its nearby Mont Belvieu plastics plant that turns the ethylene from Baytown into thinner and stronger versions of the common plastic, polyethylene.

The Baytown expansion includes producing an additional 1.5 million metric tons of ethylene a year, or 3.3 billion pounds, while the Mont Belvieu plant can manufacture an extra 1.3 million tons of polyethylene now. Most of that plastic is headed for export to emerging markets in Asia and elsewhere.

"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 Company.
Exxon is also partnering with Saudi Arabia in another huge petrochemical complex to be built near Corpus Christi.  There is no real alternative to the plastics business that can fill the needs across various industries.  While left coast liberals appear to be at war with the plastic straw business it is not a significant factor for most of these operations and its impact on the environment is negligible compared to the plastic dumping in China.

The war on straws is another example of liberal virtue signaling over frivolous issues.


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