ExxonMobil Set to Unleash ‘Much Needed’ Affordable Energy with Biggest Industry Refinery Expansion in 10 Years

Nearly 2,000 ExxonMobil contractors are working on the company’s latest project — which includes 35 miles of electrical wiring, 875 tons of steel, and 26 miles of piping — near the Gulf Coast east of Texas’ oil-rich Permian Basin.

After the launch of America’s most substantial oil refinery expansion in over a decade, the senior vice president of ExxonMobil’s global operations detailed that the company’s Beaumont complex is not only pressing to fuel energy supply but also the U.S. economy.

“When you put it all together, and you look at this particular location, what I love about it, it allows us to buy what I consider to be very much needed, affordable energy, and in a very reliable supply to fuel the economy that we have here in Texas, the U.S. and, I say, across the globe,” said Janet Matsushita.

After starting construction in 2019, the Beaumont startup broke ground over a month ago, adding 250,000 barrels daily to its oil output, increasing the total processing capacity to over 630,000 barrels daily. This equates to a substantial four million gallons per day, providing enough fuel in a single day to power 61,000 long-haul trucks.

The project’s massive $2 billion price tag was no match for Exxon, which completed the expansion project on budget and on time. Matsushita said the accomplishment earned the facility two consecutive Gold Energy Star acknowledgments from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“It is actually the equivalent of building a brand-new refinery. It is a big expansion; it is not a minor expansion,” she said. “When we built this project, we actually leveraged some of the best energy technology available so that when we operate this new project itself, it is one of the most energy-efficient versus industry standard.”

“And [what’s] really nice to see, we’re actually connected to the U.S. Permian crude,” Matsushita continued, “which is right here in our Texas backyard, and that is also a very energy-efficient operation in terms of how we perform. And it has an aspiration to actually be net-zero by 2030.”

Before opening, the Beaumont expansion was rigorously tested for reliability and safety, explained the VP. After five million working hours, ExxonMobil has not reported any injuries or mishaps on site.

“I’m extremely pleased to say that the whole project right now is actually running at design capability, which really speaks to the quality not only of the project but of the execution-operating team that we have here in Beaumont,” touted Matsushita.

The Beaumont expansion has created one of the largest oil refineries in the U.S. According to the company, it inches ExxonMobil closer to its mission of crafting sustainable solutions that meet society’s changing needs and improve the quality of life for consumers.

Growing demand for affordable energy

“In 2022, post the pandemic, there was a significant demand for affordable energy to fuel the whole economic growth that was there,” the VP said.

“ExxonMobil from a manufacturing perspective. We globally actually ran the most output that we have had since 2012. And here in the U.S., we actually hit our highest peak record production of 2.1 million barrels a day of capacity, which is something we feel good about.”

Matsushita continued by saying that if it weren’t for the engineering and technology teams utilizing “really brilliant” 3-D imaging to craft virtual models, planning, and training for the expansion wouldn’t have run as seamlessly.

“We actually do move a lot of our best global teams, and we implement that global best practice at each of the sites. And we actually brought that all together here in Beaumont to be able to make this project such a success,” said Matsushita. “The 3-D models, it allowed us to actually expedite our construction, so we knew exactly in all three dimensions what it would look like, and to compare it, train it, be ready for it. And now we have that available to us as we go forward from a sustainable maintenance perspective.”

So far, the expansion’s peak hiring number has swelled to around 1,700 on-site employees. Beaumont sits around 80 miles east of Houston and has seen a $500 million influx from the project.

“We look forward to fueling the economy here as we go forward,” said Matsushita. “We’ve added major chemical refining, lubricants, and [liquified petroleum gas] projects all across Texas and Louisiana, and I do believe directly and through the multiplier effects of our investments, all of your expansion projects, we expect to provide long-term economic benefits for the regions that we actually operate in, and we’re very proud of our connectivity with our community.”