ExxonMobil has announced the start of operations at the $2bn Beaumont refinery expansion project in Texas, thereby adding 250,000 barrels per day of capacity to the existing refinery located along the US Gulf Coast.

Following the expansion, the total crude refining processing capacity of the Beaumont refinery has gone up by over 65% to more than 630,000 barrels per day. Prior to the expansion, the refinery had been processing 366,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

The refinery expansion project called for the construction of a third crude unit, which began in 2019. It involved 1,700 contractors and after completion, has added 50 full-time employees to handle the operation of the expanded refinery.

The third crude unit within the Beaumont facility’s existing footprint is expected to boost light crude oil refining, which is backed by the increased production of crude oil in the Permian Basin.

ExxonMobil product solutions president Karen McKee said: “ExxonMobil maintained its commitment to the Beaumont expansion even through the lows of the pandemic, knowing consumer demand would return and new capacity would be critical in the post-pandemic economic recovery.

“The new crude unit enables us to produce even more transportation fuels at a time when demand is surging. This expansion is the equivalent of a medium-sized refinery and is a key part of our plans to provide society with reliable, affordable energy products.”

According to ExxonMobil, the Beaumont refinery is connected to pipelines from the company’s Permian Basin operations, thus providing it with considerable strategic benefits.

The crude oil drawn from the Permian Basin is processed at the refinery in order to manufacture finished products such as diesel, jet fuel, and gasoline.

ExxonMobil said that following the completion of Wink to Webster and Beaumont pipelines, the third crude unit at the refinery will also be well-placed to further benefit on segregated crude drawn from the Delaware Basin.