Saudi Arabian Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) and ExxonMobil Corp. have reached official startup of their 50-50 joint venture Gulf Coast Growth Ventures LLC’s (GCGV) ethane cracker and derivatives complex in Portland, San Patricio County, Tex., near Corpus Christi (OGJ Online, July 26, 2021).
Commercially operating as of Jan. 20, GCGV’s complex—including its 1.8-million tonnes/year (tpy) ethane cracker, 1.1 million-tpy monoethylene glycol (MEG) unit, and two polyethylene units with combined capacity of 1.3 million tpy—will help meet growing global demand for performance products with its production of raw materials used for packaging, agricultural film, construction materials, clothing, and automotive coolants, SABIC and ExxonMobil said in separate releases.
Start of commercial operations at the site follows mechanical completion of the complex’s units in July 2021 and confirmation in June 2021 by Paul Fritsch—GCGV’s plant manager—that all units at the site would enter the commissioning phase by yearend 2021 (OGJ, Aug. 2, 2021, p. 35; OGJ Online, Nov. 10, 2021).
Completed ahead of schedule and below budget, GCGV’s complex—which marks SABIC and ExxonMobil’s first JV in the Americas—was formed in 2018 to take advantage of the US Gulf Coast’s existing infrastructure to capture competitive pricing for US natural gas feedstock and access to rising demand for ethylene-based products in overseas export markets (OGJ Online, June 13, 2019).
Alongside forming part of SABIC’s growth strategy to build petrochemical installations in global key markets, the multibillion GCGV project also forms a cornerstone of ExxonMobil’s previously announced 10-year, $20-billion Growing the Gulf expansion initiative announced in early 2017 (OGJ Online, Mar. 9, 2017).