Exxon highlights plans for spending $20 billion, creating jobs on Gulf Coast

Exxon Mobil highlighted its plans for spending $20 billion and creating 45,000 jobs, mostly during  construction, over the next decade as it builds a “manufacturing powerhouse” along the Gulf Coast, CEO Darren Woods said Monday.

Woods, a keynote speaker at the 36th annual CERA Week oil and gas conference in Houston, said the projects span 11 proposed and existing sites in Texas and Louisiana. Many of the new jobs will be high-skilled with salaries that could average $100,000 a year, he said, according to a transcript of his speech released early.

Many of the projects were previously announced, including chemical and plastics projects near Houston, refining expansions in Beaumont and Baton Rouge, and a joint venture with Saudi Arabia to build a new petrochemical plant that’s tentatively scheduled for the Corpus Christi region. Out of nearly 47,000 jobs created, 35,000 are temporary construction positions and 12,000 are full-time, permanent jobs.

READ MORE: Exxon increases bet on shale

The shale revolution and its newfound volumes of oil and gas are pushing the company to expand or build chemical, refining, lubricant and liquefied natural gas projects, Woods said. Most of the new capacity is targeted at export markets, especially those in Asia.

High-growth nations are looking to support larger populations with higher standards of living, Woods said. “Those overseas markets are the motivation behind our investments,” Woods said in the transcript. “The supply is here; the demand is there. We want to keep connecting those dots.”

Wood said investments began in 2013 and are expected to continue through at least 2022.