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Exxon, Saudis Bet on Plastics Growth in Giant Gulf Coast Plant

  • Shale basin to provide cheap natural gas to supply new complex
  • It’s Exxon’s fourth big Gulf Coast project approval this year
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Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg
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Exxon Mobil Corp. and Saudi Arabia’s state-controlled petrochemicals company formally approved construction of a new chemical complex in Texas that will process production from the Permian Basin’s booming oil and natural gas wells.

The project near Corpus Christi will be the world’s largest steam cracker and create $50 billion of “economic output” in the first six years, Exxon and Saudi Basic Industries Corp., known as Sabic, said in a joint statement on Thursday. The facility will convert hydrocarbons such as ethane and propane to ethylene, a chemical used to make everything from plastics to antifreeze.