Texas Gulf Coast Continues Legacy as Petrochemical King: World’s Largest Ethane Steam Cracker Begins Operations Near Corpus Christi

Tue, February 01, 2022

Last week, ExxonMobil and SABIC announced the start of operations for the world’s largest ethane steam cracker in Portland, Texas, just outside of Corpus Christi. The steam cracker has the capacity to produce 1.8 million metric tons per year of ethylene, a key feedstock for many plastics, from cling wrap to essential passenger vehicle components, sourced from the Eagle Ford Shale.

During its construction from 2019 to 2021, the plant was responsible for around 6,000 temporary jobs. The plant now employs 600 permanent workers and is expected to generate more than $50 million in revenue during the first six years of operations. Port of Corpus Christi Executive Director John La Rue thinks projects like this one are key to the region’s economic development, saying he expects that “there will be a lot of different companies coming in to be near this facility.”

Texas’ Gulf Coast is no stranger to large, job-creating industrial facilities. As an important port in the Gulf of Mexico with access to the Eagle Ford Shale, Corpus Christi is a key contributor to the country’s energy independence and manufacturing base.

While the size of the ExxonMobil and SABIC plant is unique, projects like this one are popping up all around the Gulf Coast. On the opposite side of the Texas Gulf Coast, ExxonMobil is also working on a new expansion to the Beaumont Refinery, Beaumont Light Atmospheric Distillation Expansion (BLADE), meant to increase existing crude refining capacity from the Permian Basin. The expansion is set to be completed next year.

All across the state, petrochemical facilities are helping to develop the materials we all rely upon. Through Texas’ refineries, steam crackers and plastic manufacturing facilities, Texans and the rest of the world are benefiting from our resources and the dedicated workforce that makes it all possible.