ExxonMobil’s Baytown decarbonization plan could receive federal funding

March 26, 2024
ExxonMobil Corp.’s plans to decarbonize its 561,000-b/d integrated refining and petrochemical complex in Baytown, Tex., could receive up to $331.9 million in federal funding.

ExxonMobil Corp.’s plans to help decarbonize its 561,000-b/d integrated refining and petrochemical complex in Baytown, Tex., could receive up to $331.9 million in federal funding.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) on Mar. 25 said it will allocate up to $6 billion for 33 projects across more than 20 states to decarbonize energy-intensive industries. Together, the projects are expected to reduce the equivalent of more than 14 million tonnes/year (tpy) of CO2 emissions.

Funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, will focus on the "highest emitting industries where decarbonization technologies will have the greatest impact, including aluminum and other metals, cement and concrete, chemicals and refining, iron and steel, and more," the DOE said in a release. 

ExxonMobil Baytown olefins plant

One of the projects selected for award negotiations includes ExxonMobil Corp.’s Baytown olefins plant carbon reduction project. The operator initially unveiled plans to decarbonize certain segments of the complex in early 2022 (OGJ Online, Mar. 3, 2022).

According to the DOE, ExxonMobil’s project would enable the use of hydrogen in place of natural gas across high heat-fired equipment using new burner technologies for ethylene production—a chemical feedstock in the production of textiles, synthetic rubbers, and plastic resins, with applications in packaging, electronics, and vehicles.

The equipment modifications aim to enable the use of up to 95% clean hydrogen fuel. When fully implemented, the modifications would expect to avoid 2.5 million tpy of carbon emissions—equal to more than 50% of the plant’s total emissions—and would reduce criteria air pollutants, according to the DOE.

This project plans to create about 400 new construction jobs, 15% of which would be offered US Department of Labor approved apprenticeships. Additionally, an estimated 140 current Baytown olefins plant workers would be trained in the use of hydrogen. As part of its community benefits plan, ExxonMobil plans to create three programs including a new training center to expand non-traditional educational pathways for residents, a teaching space for learning and academic support in STEM fields, and a local business development program, the DOE detailed.

ExxonMobil also plans to establish a community advisory panel, which will complement the existing panel, where community members and project management commit to regular dialogue throughout the life of the project.

About the Author

Mikaila Adams | Managing Editor - News

Mikaila Adams has 20 years of experience as an editor, most of which has been centered on the oil and gas industry. She enjoyed 12 years focused on the business/finance side of the industry as an editor for Oil & Gas Journal's sister publication, Oil & Gas Financial Journal (OGFJ). After OGFJ ceased publication in 2017, she joined Oil & Gas Journal and was named Managing Editor - News in 2019. She holds a degree from Texas Tech University.