Ascension and St. James parishes in the running for massive petrochemical project

Saudi Arabia-based SABIC and ExxonMobil Chemical Company are considering building a jointly owned petrochemical complex along the Gulf Coast, and they are looking at sites in Ascension and St. James parishes for the project.

The potential project—characterized as having a “transformational economic impact” by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber—would sit near natural gas feedstock and include a world-class steam cracker and derivative units, the companies say in a news release.

“The decision process for projects is competitive, and the local partners and state have been working hard to try to secure a favorable outcome,” says Adam Knapp, president and CEO of BRAC, in an email. “ExxonMobil has been a major employer in the area for more than a century, and this project would be a generational opportunity for our community, while also further fortifying the strength of our regional petrochemical sector in the global economy.”

The release does not give a price tag or timeline for the project.

The companies are in the preliminary stage of the process and are doing their homework on sites in Louisiana and Texas. Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan, SABIC vice chairman and chief executive officer, says in a statement that the companies are looking for geographic diversification to bring supplies to new markets.

The two petrochemical titans are also working with state and local officials in both states to find a site with adequate infrastructure to support the massive complex they are planning.

“We have the capability to design a project with a unique set of attributes that would make it competitive globally,” Neil Chapman, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Company, says in a statement. “That is vitally important as most of the chemical demand growth in the next several decades is anticipated to come from developing economies.”

Both SABIC and ExxonMobil Chemical Company are among the world’s top petrochemical companies and have had a working relationship for about 35 years.

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