Exxon Mobil stays mum on report of Beaumont refinery expansion

By Dan Wallach

BEAUMONT — The Beaumont Exxon Mobil Corp. refinery could expand to become the nation’s largest, overtaking the Motiva Enterprises complex in Port Arthur refinery, according to a report on the Reuters international news website.

Officials of the Irving-based oil giant declined to comment on the report.

Jim Rich, president of the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce, said he’d heard about the possibility of Exxon Mobil’s expansion, but said he is unaware of any official advance work or requests for information about tax abatements, a usual step that precedes major industrial investments.

Royal Dutch Shell and Saudi Aramco, joint owners of Motiva, completed a $10 billion, 600,000-barrel-per-day expansion of the Port Arthur refinery in 2012, nearly doubling its capacity.
Reuters reported that Exxon Mobil’s Beaumont refinery now has a capacity of 344,000 barrels per day and, if the expansion goes forward, could increase it with construction of a third distillation unit, potentially doubling its daily capacity.

Earlier in July, Exxon Mobil announced plans to invest $1 billion in expanding its Antwerp, Belgium, refinery.