ExxonMobil’s Beaumont refinery is an integrated petrochemical complex located in Beaumont, in the US state of Texas.

The expansion of the project involved the addition of third unit to the refinery to boost refining capacity by 250,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Beaumont refinery expansion was under consideration since 2014. The final investment decision on the $2bn project was taken in January 2019.

In March 2023, ExxonMobil announced the successful start-up of the refinery expansion project.

The expansion represented the largest refinery expansion in the US since 2012.

The construction of the new unit will boost production of transportation fuels amid an increase in demand. It is also expected to strengthen Beaumont refinery’s competitive position making it one of the largest refineries in the country.

Beaumont refinery location and site details

The Beaumont refinery is a part of the petrochemical manufacturing complex built near the Neches River in Beaumont.

The petrochemical manufacturing complex includes a refinery, chemical plant, polyethylene plant, lubricant blending and packaging plant.

The refinery, which produces finished products including diesel, gasoline, and jet fuel, is accessible via railways, terminals, water routes and pipelines. It is connected to pipelines from ExxonMobil’s operations in the US Permian Basin.

Before the expansion, the refinery had the capacity to process 366,000 barrels of crude oil per day and produced 2.8 billion gallons of gasoline per year.

The Beaumont chemical plant makes building-block chemicals such as ethylene and propylene, synthetic fluids and lubricant base-stocks, as well as different types of zeolite catalysts.

The lubricant blending and packaging plant produces lube oil, and greases including Mobil aviation greases.

A polyethylene plant, situated 300 acres west of Beaumont, is involved in the production of granular and pelletised polyethylene.

Overall, the petrochemical manufacturing complex includes an area of more than 2,700 acres. It employs around 2,000 employees along with nearly 3,000 contractors depending on construction activity.

Beaumont refinery expansion details

The expansion of the refinery involved the development of a new crude distillation unit (CDU), also known as the Beaumont Light Atmospheric Distillation Expansion project (BLADE).

The expansion increased the refinery’s capacity by more than 65%, or 250,000 barrels per day, to more than 630,000 barrels per day.

As part of the expansion, the refinery was equipped with an atmospheric pipe still, kerosene hydrotreater, diesel hydrotreater and benzene recovery units. The new units are integrated into the existing facilities at the refinery.

The expansion will enable ExxonMobil to process lighter crude oils.

Construction of the Beaumont expansion involved 1,700 contractors. More than 50 full-time employees were recruited to support the operations of the expanded refinery.

The CDU is expected to process crude oil produced by the Permian shale field in West Texas and New Mexico.

Following the completion of the Wink to Webster and Beaumont pipelines, the new crude unit will also be used to process crude from the Delaware Basin.

Contractors involved

In January 2019, TechnipFMC secured the contract to conduct detailed engineering, procurement, and construction for the expansion project. The ‘large’ contract was valued between $500m to $1bn.

US-based engineering company KBR won a contract in February 2019 to offer detailed engineering, procurement, and construction services for the offsites and interconnecting units of the Beaumont expansion project.

ExxonMobil’s Growing the Gulf initiative

As part of its Growing the Gulf initiative, ExxonMobil plans to invest more than $20bn over a ten-year period to develop and expand manufacturing facilities on the US Gulf Coast.

This includes increasing Beaumont’s polyethylene capacity by 65%, development of a new unit in Beaumont to expand ultra-low sulphur fuel production and building a new 1.5 million ton-per-year ethane cracker at Baytown chemical and refining complex in Texas.

ExxonMobil has also established a joint venture with SABIC to develop a 1.8 million metric tonne ethane cracker in San Patricio County, Texas.