Shale gas from Permian to source new plastics plant near Gulf

By Luke Geiver | June 25, 2019

Food packaging, construction materials and agricultural films may soon be produced from shale gas sourced from the Permian Basin. Gulf Coast Growth Ventures LLC, a joint venture between ExxonMobil and Saudi Basic Industries Corp., has asked its construction company, Zachry Group, to place an order for a 1.3-million-ton polyethylene plant near Corpus Christi, Texas.

The polyethylene plant will be part of a larger shale gas-fed plastics plant built in the area. Zachry Group has placed an order for the plant design, supply and procurement of equipment and building of certain modules with Mitsubishi Heave Industries Engineering from Tokyo.

The original order for the plant was placed in 2017. Mitsubishi was selected in part for its ability to create the plant around a modular construction process that will help bring the plant online sooner. Mitsubishi and ExxonMobil previously worked together on polyethylene plants in Singapore in 2011 and Texas in 2017.

According to Mitsubishi, “the U.S. chemical plant market is expanding rapidly with increased production of shale gas.”

Once complete, the plant would create more than 600 permanent jobs with an average salary of roughly $90,000 per year. The GCGV joint venture was formed in 2018 and has always been focused on building the shale gas facility.