Exxon Mobil starts up Singapore unit

Exxon Mobil has started operations at a massive new chemical processing unit in Singapore, making its expanded facility there its largest worldwide, the company said Friday.

The unit, one of the largest ethylene steam crackers in the world, was the final piece of a multibillion-dollar expansion that will add 2.6 million metric tons of chemical processing capacity to the world market every year, the company said.

The facility will begin producing ethylene in the next few months, Exxon Mobil said.

Its completion comes as Irving-based Exxon Mobil continues to plan large investments to help boost its production and processing of hydrocarbons. The world’s second-largest publicly traded company after Apple, Inc., announced in March 2012 that it would invest about $185 billion over five years to develop new supplies of energy.

The expansion of Exxon Mobil’s petrochemical complex will increase its employment there by 50 percent. The company will now employ a total of 1,800 workers between its petrochemical and refining operations in Singapore.

The expanded facility is powered by a 220-kilowatt cogeneration plant, which uses electricity and heat produced from power generation to fuel operations and increase energy efficiency, according to the company.

“Cogeneration is significantly more efficient than traditional methods of producing steam and power separately, resulting in lower operating costs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions,” Exxon Mobil said in a statement.