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Growing Again: Exxon Mobil Continues Expansion of Beaumont Facility

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Exxon Mobil’s refinery in Beaumont is getting another expansion, making it one of the country’s biggest fuel producers.

On Tuesday, Exxon announced plans to start the expansion later this year that will increase the refinery’s daily capacity to around 40,000 barrels. The plans for this upcoming expansion comes on the heels of last year’s continuing project that sought to bring up the facility’s daily capacity by another 20,000 barrels.

Exxon Mobil’s newest expansion project aims to produce ultralow sulfur fuels to meet the firmer federal tailpipe emissions guidelines of the near-future. The projected completion date of construction is set for 2018.

Expansion of the Beaumont refinery could bring the facility’s total capacity from 345,000 barrels per day to 400,000 barrels per day. This would make the site the fourth-biggest refinery in the state and the eighth-biggest on the entire continent. Exxon Mobil would not disclose information about the cost of the expansion project.

According to Reuters, Exxon originally considered upgrading the Beaumont refinery to become the largest one in North America. But, due to the reduction of capital spending during the oil slump, this idea was nixed.

“Exxon Mobil continues to strengthen its portfolio of world-class refining assets. This investment further enhances the competitiveness of our U.S. Gulf Coast refineries,” stated Steve Cope, Exxon’s director of North American refining. Cope also said that the Beaumont facility is poised to meet the country’s growing demand of fuel despite the industry’s current, strenuous environment.

“SCANfining” will be the newest technology Exxon Mobil plans to use during the Beaumont expansion. This method will include the installation of a selective cat naphtha hydrofining unit that will eliminate sulfur through an exclusive catalyst system. Naphtha is a crude oil that is used in the making of refined products. The cutting-edge SCANfining method will also reduce the loss of octane that normally occurs during the process.

In all, the expansion will generate around 700 construction jobs. Exxon reports that just five of these will be permanent. Currently, Exxon has 2,100 people on its workforce in Beaumont at the refinery and at many plants including those that produce chemicals, lubricants, and plastics.

Article written by HEI contributor Briana Steptoe.

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