ExxonMobil, Saudis Plan to Build New Ethane Cracker on Gulf Coast

joint ventureYesterday ExxonMobil and Saudi Arabian petrochemical giant SABIC announced they have formed a joint venture partnership and are evaluating (and plan) to build yet another ethane cracker plant complex along the Gulf Coast–in either Texas or Louisiana. The Gulf Coast has numerous such plants already in operation. The northeast has (so far) none. Why the two companies are not looking to the northeast is beyond us. In their announcement the companies said they want to locate along the Gulf Coast “near natural gas feedstock.” Why is this an MDN story? Because (a) pipelines are planned from the Marcellus/Utica region to the Gulf Coast, and this cracker, if built, will be yet another new market for our gas, and (b) because it will likely compete with the crackers that do get built in the northeast. Shell has committed to building one in Pennsylvania, and PTT Global Chemical will make a final investment decision in 2017 on a planned cracker in Ohio. A new Exxon/SABIC cracker will compete for our gas supplies, we have no doubt. Here’s yesterday’s joint announcement…

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