ExxonMobil is evaluating a multibillion-dollar proposal to expand its light crude oil refining capacity along the Gulf Coast, a move that would boost capacity at its Baton Rouge refinery.
The project would add a crude distillation unit at its Beaumont, Texas, refinery, expanding capacity from 362,300 barrel per day to as much as 850,000 bpd, Reuters reports. It would also increase the integration of ExxonMobil’s Gulf Coast operations by supplying its Baton Rouge and Baytown refineries with products made at Beaumont, reducing the need for third-party purchases.
The project would make the Beaumont refinery the nation’s largest by capacity. A spokesperson for ExxonMobil Baton Rouge confirms the expansion plans are under consideration. If the project proceeds, construction would start in 2019, followed by unit startup in 2022.
“ExxonMobil Baton Rouge is a highly integrated organization, and our sites are well-positioned to compete for future projects,” says spokeswoman Stephanie Cargile. “We want Louisiana to be competitive for future investment that ExxonMobil may be considering.”
News of the proposed expansion was gleaned from comments ExxonMobil Senior Vice President Jack Williams made during a presentation to Wall Street analyst last week. Sources familiar with the plans told Reuters that ExxonMobil is nearing a final investment decision.
ExxonMobil announced last spring plans to invest $20 billion to expand its chemicals and fuel-making capacity in Texas and Louisiana to transform U.S. shale oil and natural gas into products for growing consumer markets in Asia.