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Exxon looks into building plastics production plant on US Gulf Coast

Exxon Mobil Corp. said it has started looking into a potential U.S. Gulf Coast project to expand polypropylene manufacturing capacity by up to 450,000 tons a year to meet Asian demand for lightweight durable plastics.

"Most of our planned investment in the Gulf Coast region is focused on supplying emerging markets like Asia with high-demand products, which ultimately will spur new economic growth locally," John Verity, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Co., said in a March 20 press release.

The investment, one of the 13 new facilities planned to grow Exxon's chemical manufacturing capacity in North America and Asia Pacific by about 40%, is anticipated to cost several hundred million dollars. A final decision on the project may be expected later this year and the plant could begin operations as early as 2021.

In January, Exxon announced plans to invest more than $50 billion in its U.S. business following recent tax reform.