Exxon may soon operate largest US crude refinery: report

The world’s largest oil and gas company, ExxonMobil, may soon operate the largest crude refinery in the U.S.

The company is close to receiving approval to expand its Beaumont, Texas plant, according to a report from Reuters, which cited three sources familiar with the company’s negotiations.

The Beaumont plant currently occupies about 2,400 acres of land, processes about 365,000 barrels of crude oil per day and produces 2.8 billion gallons of gasoline each year, according to Exxon.

An expansion at the refinery is expected to increase total capacity to 700,000-850,000 barrels per day. Motiva Enterprises’ Port Arthur, Texas, plant, presently the largest in the U.S., produces about 650,000 barrels per day.

A potential expansion comes at a time when U.S. crude production is on the rise. U.S. crude production averaged 10.2 million barrels per day in January, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). For 2018, production is expected to average 10.6 million barrels per day, which would be the highest annual production level to date. The EIA forecasts that annual production in 2019 will average 11.2 million barrels per day.

The project would create up to 1,850 construction jobs and as many as 60 permanent positions when complete, according to Reuters.

Exxon has not confirmed the expansion, though it said it is considering increasing its domestic operations.

The company said last month it would invest $50 billion in the United States over the next five years.