ExxonMobil has reported that it has started detailed engineering work on a potential U.S. Gulf Coast project to expand polypropylene (PP) manufacturing capacity by up to 450,000 tons a year to meet growing demand for high-performance, lightweight durable plastics. A final decision on the investment, anticipated to be several hundred million dollars, is expected later this year. Facility start-up could come as early as 2021.
The new facility will be capable of producing advanced polypropylene products which can be used in high performance automotive, appliance, and packaging applications. The potential project will create more than 600 jobs during peak construction and more than 60 permanent jobs when production starts.
“ExxonMobil is well positioned to take advantage of the growing global demand for higher-value products, in both North America and the high-growth Asia Pacific region,” said John Verity, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Company. “Abundant supplies of domestically produced oil and natural gas have reduced energy costs and created new sources of feedstock for U.S. chemical manufacturing. 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.”
These advanced polypropylene materials are key to reducing vehicle weight, which helps improve fuel efficiency and reduces carbon emissions. Modern plastics and polymer composites, which can replace steel in many applications, typically comprise about 50 percent of a new car’s volume but only 10 percent of its weight.
Image courtesy of ExxonMobil