LONDON (ICIS)--ExxonMobil has begun detailed engineering work on a potential project to expand its polypropylene (PP) capacity on the US Gulf Coast by up to 450,000 tonnes/year, the US-headquartered oil and gas firm said on Tuesday.
Coming amid a drive to grow its North American and Asia Pacific chemicals capacity by 40%, the investment is expected to cost several hundred million dollars if the company moves forward with it.
A final investment decision is expected this year, and facility start-up could be as early as 2021, Exxon added.
The decision to potentially move forward with significant new PP capacity was driven by anticipated growing demand for lightweight plastics and the abundance of low-cost feedstocks in the US, the company said, and will primarily be focused on Asia and other emerging markets.
“Abundant supplies of domestically produced oil and natural gas have reduced energy costs and created new sources of feedstock for US chemical manufacturing,” said ExxonMobil Chemical president John Verity.
“Most of our planned investment in the Gulf Coast region is focused on supplying emerging markets like Asia with high-demand products, which ultimately will spur new economic growth locally,” he added.