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Exxon, Sabic form joint venture for Texas petchem complex

Houston — ExxonMobil and Sabic have advanced their plan to build a new $10 billion petrochemcial complex on the Texas Coast with the formation of a joint venture centered on the project, the companies said Tuesday.

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The venture, dubbed the Gulf Coast Growth Ventures project, will include a 1.8 million mt/year ethylene-capacity steam cracker, two polyethylene units, and a monoethylene glycol unit.

The companies announced the project in July 2016, and aim to make a final investment decision after all necessary permits are secured. The complex will be in San Patricio County near Corpus Christi, Texas, with ready access to cheap feedstock.

The new complex is part of Exxon's plan to expand its manufacturing capacity along the US Gulf Coast by $20 billion through 2027, which includes a new 1.5 million mt/year cracker in Baytown, Texas, expected to start up by mid-2018; two new PE units in Mont Belvieu, Texas, that started up in October; and another PE plant at its Beaumont chemical and refining complex slated to start up in 2019.

The project allows Sabic to expand its footprint in North American olefin and polymer markets beyond its 11.5% stake in an 885,000 mt/year Louisiana cracker operated by NOVA Chemicals and a joint-venture Louisiana styrene plant.

Late last year, the companies signed a new lease agreement with the Port of Corpus Christi for a new cargo dock and marine terminal near the complex site. That project will involve moving liquids via pipeline from the new complex to storage tanks at the marine terminal for export, according to the port.

The new complex will be part of a second wave of major petrochemical projects in North America to emerge from shale gas production boom. With that gas comes cheap ethane to feed a slew of new crackers.

--Kristen Hays,

--Edited by Derek Sands,