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Exxon begins production at new Baytown ethane cracker

U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil Corp. has started its 1.5 million-ton-per-year ethane cracker in its integrated Baytown chemical and refining complex in Texas, according to a July 26 release.

The cracker is meant to provide ethylene to new polyethylene lines at the company's Mont Belvieu plastics plant, which has a manufacturing capacity of 1.3 million tons per year.

ExxonMobil Chemical Company president John Verity said that the cracker will not only help the company meet growing global demand for high performance plastic products but will also provide lighter packaging weight, lower energy consumption and reduced emissions.

The cracker project is part of Exxon's Growing the Gulf program, which aims to spend more than $20 billion over 10 years on 11 projects along the U.S. Gulf Coast. In early May, the company formed a joint venture with Saudi Basic Industries Corp. to advance the development of a petrochemical complex project to be constructed in San Patricio County, Texas.