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U.S. Gulf Coast Refining Projects To Get $20 Billion Investment From Exxon

U.S. Gulf Coast Refining Projects To Get $20 Billion Investment From Exxon
Exxon Mobil Corp, would invest $20 billion through 2022 to expand its chemical and oil refining plants on the U.S. Gulf Coast, the world's largest publicly traded oil producer said on Monday.
Chief Executive Darren Woods said in a speech at CERAWeek, the world's largest gathering of energy executives that the investments at 11 sites should create 35,000 temporary construction jobs and 12,000 permanent jobs.
Exxon said that the scope of the project is now growing and the timeline extended and some of the expansions began in 2013.
The new spending benefits a sector with which he has significant experience and comfort and Woods ran Exxon's refining division before becoming CEO two months ago. There are concerns from Wall Street that Exxon's growth potential - especially in oil and gas exploration and production - is sliding and the investments in the high-margin projects should help ease such concerns.
"Exxon Mobil is building a manufacturing powerhouse along the U.S. Gulf Coast," Woods said. "These businesses are leveraging the shale revolution to manufacture cleaner fuels and more energy-efficient plastics."
The availability of cheap shale gas to make plastics and other chemicals for export would be taken advantage of by the investments across Texas and Louisiana. In the wake of the American shale expansion, which sharply cut production costs, the strategy builds on prior steps Exxon and peers, including Dow Chemical Co.
"The supply is here. The demand is there. We want to keep connecting those dots," Woods said.
After the company posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by rising oil prices and lower costs, to expand operations, especially in shale production, Exxon last month pledged to boost this year's spending by 16 percent.
The company's spending plans were praised as an example of "a true American success story" by the U.S. President Donald Trump, who tapped former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state. More than $100,000 per year is expected ot be paid to the most of the permanent jobs.
"This is exactly the kind of investment, economic development and job creation that will help put Americans back to work," Trump said.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said that Exxon made it clear to the president it was investing more in the United States because of his push for fewer regulations and tax relief when asked if Trump was taking credit for an investment program that began under former President Barack Obama in 2013.
With plans to expand polyethylene production, oil refining capacity and liquefied natural gas exports, the bulk of the expansion will take place in Beaumont, Texas.
Exxon also will potentially build a new refinery to produce ethane, a key building block for chemical production and increase its lubricant manufacturing capacity.
Exxon has come under attack in the past year with respect to climate change and Woods spent the larger part of his speech discussing the area. He said that while improving the climate, the global economy also can grow.
"I believe the assumption that affordable energy and a cleaner environment are a zero-sum game is mistaken," he said. "It underestimates the power of technology."

Christopher J. Mitchell

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