ExxonMobil Chemical Company started the construction of a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker at its Baytown, Texas, complex and associated premium product facilities in nearby Mont Belvieu. The steam cracker will have a capacity of up to 1.5 million tons per year and provide ethylene feedstock for downstream chemical processing, including processing at two new 650,000 tons per year high performance polyethylene lines at the company’s Mont Belvieu plastics plant. “The project is made possible in large part by abundant, affordable supplies of U.S. natural gas for energy and chemical feedstock”, said Steve Pryor, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Company. “Shale development has provided U.S. chemical producers a double benefit as an energy source and as a key raw material to make plastics and other essential products, creating jobs and economic activity across the value chain.” Contracts for construction of olefins recovery units at the ExxonMobil Baytown Olefins Plant, which is to begin immediately, have been awarded to Linde Engineering North America and Bechtel Oil, Gas, and Chemicals. Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. and Huertey Petrochem will construct the new olefins furnaces. At the Mont Belvieu Plastics Plant, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will construct two 650,000 tons-per-year high-performance polyethylene lines. Jacobs Engineering will oversee enabling works and interconnections at both locations. Dashiell Corporation and Wood Group Mustang will provide specialty contracting services.