ExxonMobil unleashing 'much needed' affordable energy with industry’s biggest refinery expansion in 10 years
Beaumont, Texas, refinery gets $2 billion expansion pumping 250K more barrels per day
Near the Gulf Coast just east of Texas’ oil-rich Permian Basin, nearly 2,000 ExxonMobil contractors are making sure the company’s latest project – which includes 26 miles of piping, 35 miles of electrical wiring and 875 tons of steel – is pumping oil at full capacity.
After launching America’s largest oil refinery expansion in over a decade, ExxonMobil’s senior vice president of global operations detailed how the company’s Beaumont complex is not only fueling U.S. energy supply but also the economy.
"When you put it all together and you look at this particular location, what I love about it, it allows us to buy what I consider to be very much needed, affordable energy, and in a very reliable supply to fuel the economy that we have here in Texas, the U.S. and, I say, across the globe," Janet Matsushita told Fox News Digital.
After beginning construction in 2019, the Beaumont refinery startup broke ground just over one month ago and added 250,000 barrels per day to its oil output, increasing its total processing capacity to more than 630,000 barrels daily. To put things into perspective, this equates to a sizable 4 million gallons per day, providing enough fuel to power 61,000 long-haul trucks in a single day.
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The project's reported hefty $2 billion price tag was no match for Exxon, who completed the expansion on time and on budget, earning the facility two consecutive Gold Energy Star acknowledgments from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to Matsushita.
"It is actually the equivalent of building a brand-new refinery. It is a big expansion, it is not a minor expansion," she said contently. "When we built this project, we actually leveraged some of the best energy technology available so that when we operate this new project itself, it is one of the most energy-efficient versus industry standard."
"And [what's] really nice to see, we're actually connected to the U.S. Permian crude," she continued, "which is right here in our Texas backyard, and that is also a very energy-efficient operation in terms of how we perform. And it has an aspiration to actually be net-zero by 2030."
Prior to opening, the Beaumont expansion went through rigorous performance testing for safety and reliability, the VP of global operations explained. After 5 million working-person hours, ExxonMobil has reported no mishaps or injuries on site.
"I'm extremely pleased to say that the whole project right now is actually running at design capability, which really speaks to the quality not only of the project, but of the execution-operating team that we have here in Beaumont," Matsushita touted.
In addition to now being one of the largest oil refineries in America, the Beaumont expansion also works towards ExxonMobil’s mission of creating sustainable solutions that improve quality of life and meet society's evolving needs.
"In 2022 post the pandemic, there was a significant demand for affordable energy to fuel the whole economic growth that was there," she said. "ExxonMobil from a manufacturing perspective. We globally actually ran the most throughput that we have had since 2012. And here in the U.S., we actually hit our highest peak record production of 2.1 million barrels a day of capacity, which is something we feel good about."
And if it wasn't for the technology and engineering teams utilizing "really brilliant" 3-D imaging to create virtual models, training and planning for the expansion would not have run as smoothly, she said.
"We actually do move a lot of our best global teams and we implement that global best practice at each of the sites. And we actually brought that all together here in Beaumont to be able to make this project such a success," Matsushita said. "The 3-D models, it allowed us to actually expedite our construction, so we knew exactly in all three dimensions what it would look like, and to compare it, train it, be ready for it. And now we have that available to us as we go forward from a sustainable maintenance perspective."
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The expansion’s peak hiring number thus far has swelled to about 1,700 on-site employees. From a local point-of-view, Beaumont – which sits about 80 miles east of Houston – has seen a $500 million influx from the project.
"We look forward to fueling the economy here as we go forward," Matsushita told Fox News Digital. "We've added major chemical refining, lubricants and [liquefied petroleum gas] projects all across Texas and Louisiana, and I do believe directly and through the multiplier effects of our investments, all of our expansion projects, we expect to provide long-term economic benefits for the regions that we actually operate in, and we're very proud of our connectivity with our community."