Exxon confirms Texas site for $10B petrochemical complex

Exxon Mobil’s Beaumont refinery (Jake Daniels/The Enterprise)

Exxon Mobil and its Saudi partner have agreed on a spot near Corpus Christi for a proposed $10 billion petrochemical facility, the companies said Wednesday.

The Irving-based oil company and the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, known as SABIC, still don’t expect to make a final decision on whether to assemble the joint-venture project until next year.

READ:$10 billion Exxon-Saudi project concerns Texas communities

But selecting a San Patricio County site for the ethane cracker moves Exxon a step closer to plans for a $20 billion spending surge on Gulf Coast projects over the next decade.

Exxon’s plans for the site got a boost last month when the Gregory-Portland School Board delivered tax breaks worth $460 million in a late-night vote.

READ: School board clears way for Exxon petrochemical plant

The proposed ethane cracker would each year produce 1.9 million tons of ethylene, a chemical used to make plastics. The companies believe that would make it the largest facility of its kind in the world, and that it would be in a spot where it could take advantage of cheap shale gas still gushing across the United States.

The next step, Exxon Mobil said, is applying for air and wastewater permits form the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The joint venture partners also plan to study initial engineering designs and the technical and commercial aspects of the project before making a final investment decision, SABIC said in a statement on the Saudi stock exchange.