Spurred by Permian, ExxonMobil Ramps U.S. Refinery Expansion Near Houston

Spurred by Permian, ExxonMobil Ramps U.S. Refinery Expansion Near Houston

The largest U.S. refinery expansion in more than a decade has ramped up southeast of Houston at ExxonMobil’s Beaumont refining complex.

The $2 billion project, considered one of the largest in the world, bumped up capacity for transportation fuels by 250,000 b/d, to total 630,000 b/d-plus. The last big refinery expansion was in 2012.

“ExxonMobil maintained its commitment to the Beaumont expansion even through the lows of the pandemic, knowing consumer demand would return and new capacity would be critical in the post-pandemic economic recovery,” said President Karen McKee of ExxonMobil Product Solutions. 

“The new crude unit enables us to produce even more transportation fuels at a time when demand is surging. This expansion is the equivalent of a medium-sized refinery and is a key part of our plans to provide society with reliable, affordable energy products.”

The refinery is connected to pipelines from ExxonMobil’s Permian Basin operations. Permian crude is processed at the Beaumont refinery, where the company manufactures finished products, including diesel, gasoline and jet fuel. 

With the completion of the Wink-to-Webster crude line, which moves Permian oil to markets near Houston, as well as Beaumont pipelines, the new crude unit is positioned to further capitalize on segregated crude from the Permian Delaware sub-basin, where most of ExxonMobil’s production is underway.

As Permian oil output grew, construction on the Beaumont expansion began in 2019, involving 1,700 contractors. More than 50 full-time employees work at the expanded operations. 

ExxonMobil’s integrated operations in Beaumont also include chemical, lubricants and polyethylene production. More than 2,000 people work for ExxonMobil in the Beaumont area, with operations accounting for around one in every seven jobs in the region.

Meanwhile, Calgary-based affiliate Imperial Oil Ltd. in January agreed to invest about $560 million to construct what could be the largest renewable diesel facility in Canada. The project at Imperial’s Strathcona refinery is expected to produce 20,000 b/d of renewable diesel, primarily from locally sourced feedstocks.

Through 2027, ExxonMobil plans to invest around $17 billion in lower-emission initiatives.

Natural Gas Intelligence by Carolyn Davis, March 24, 2023