ExxonMobil Corp. has completed and officially commissioned a new unit to double polypropylene production of the polyolefins plant at its more-than 500,000-b/d integrated refining and petrochemical complex in Baton Rouge, La. (OGJ Online Mar. 1, 2019).
At a total capital investment of more than $500 million, the new 450,000-tonne/year (tpy) polypropylene unit comes as part of the company’s plan to meet growing demand for high-performance, light-weight, and durable plastics, particularly for automotive parts that can help improve fuel efficiency and reduce vehicle emissions, ExxonMobil said on Dec. 6.
Announced ahead of the global pandemic outbreak and progressively completed amid the related economic downturn, the project started up according to planned cost and schedule, the operator said.
Last year, ExxonMobil also took final investment decision to proceed with its Baton Rouge Refinery Integrated Competitiveness (BRRIC) suite of projects, a 3-year initiative to modernize the complex by improving processing capability, increasing flexibility for meeting energy market demand, advancing overall site competitiveness, and installing technology for a voluntary 10% reduction of volatile organic compound emissions (OGJ Online, June 9, 2021).
According to the operator’s most recent update on the project issued in February 2022, all major equipment for BRRIC was ordered and deliveries under way, with engineering design on schedule and major portions already completed to enable ongoing construction activities, including structural, mechanical, and electrical installations.
Upgrades to refinery docks to allow loading of larger marine cargoes for export also were nearly completed as of February 2022, the company said.
According to an economic impact report for BRRIC completed by the Kathleen Blanco Public Policy Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the proposed $240-million investment in initiative projects would position the Baton Rouge refinery to better withstand global market challenges, support job retention, and help other regional ExxonMobil sites compete for additional capital investment.
In February, David Oldreive—ExxonMobil Baton Rouge’s refinery manager—said the BRRIC also aims to enable the Baton Rouge site to increase its competitiveness and flexibility while preparing its plants for future energy transition opportunities.
To date, the BRRIC remains on schedule to conclude construction activities by yearend 2023 or early 2024.