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ExxonMobil executive says Corpus Christi complex work moving at 'rapid pace'

Houston — Work on ExxonMobil's joint-venture petrochemical complex in Corpus Christi, Texas, is "moving along at a rapid pace," a company executive said Thursday.

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Perry Padden, global capital projects manager for ExxonMobil, said vast majority of chemicals and resin to be produced at the complex "will be bound for export," largely to Asia, as well as Latin America.

Padden answered a question about the complex at the close of a presentation on ExxonMobil's chemical operations growth by Dan Holton, the company's vice president of the global chemicals supply chain, at a Greater Houston Port Bureau luncheon. The port bureau is a trade group for companies that operate at the Houston Ship Channel.

ExxonMobil's Corpus Christi complex, a joint venture with Sabic, is slated to include a 1.8 million mt/year cracker, two linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) plants and a monoethylene glycol (MEG) plant. It also will include a rail yard to offload polyethylene pellets for transport and a marine terminal to export liquids.

The companies expect to make a final investment decision to move ahead with the complex once permits are secured. Padden said Thursday they would work to start it up in 2022.

During his presentation, Holton noted ExxonMobil's startup of a new 1.5 million mt/year cracker at its Baytown, Texas, refining and chemical complex in July this year. The company also started up two new 650,000 mt/year polyethylene plants in Mont Belvieu, Texas, near Baytown more than a year ago and will start up a third new 650,000 PE plant at its Beaumont refining and chemical complex next year.

He said global chemical demand has doubled since 2000, and ExxonMobil expects that growth to continue at 4%/year through the next decade. Most of that growth will be in developing economies, "particularly Asia," he said.

That growth is a hefty incentive for investment from the US chemical industry, given unprecedented access to cheap ethane to make ethylene that feeds widespread derivatives.

--Kristen Hays, kristen.hays@spglobal.com

--Edited by Richard Rubin, richard.rubin@spglobal.com