Louisiana Passed Over? Grow Louisiana Coalition Reacts To ExxonMobil’s New Multi-Billion Dollar Plant Near Texas Gulf
PORTLAND, TX (AP) — ExxonMobil Corp. and a Saudi partner plan to build a multi-billion dollar petrochemical plant near the Texas coast, Texas' governor said Wednesday.
The project will be a venture involving Exxon and Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corp. Exxon officials have said it'll be among the largest ethane steam cracker plants in the world, with an opening scheduled for 2024.
The plant will be built in Portland, just north of Corpus Christi, on roughly 1,300 acres (526 hectares). Estimated to cost about $10 billion, the plant will produce components used to make polyester, anti-freeze, plastic bottles and other items.
In formally announcing the project, Gov. Greg Abbott said the plant "illustrates that our business climate is exactly what leading and growing companies are seeking when investing in their future." Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan, CEO of SABIC, added: "We are focused on geographic diversification to supply new markets."
Exxon and its Saudi partner also considered another Texas site and two in Louisiana for the project.
The project has received state and local tax incentives. The Gregory-Portland Independent School District board voted last month to approve $1.2 billion in tax incentives, and San Patricio County commissioners OK'd a $210 million package. Abbott said Wednesday that more than $6 million was offered in state tax breaks.
Officials said the project is expected to create thousands of jobs, an important consideration for leaders in San Patricio County. The Corpus Christer Caller-Times reported the area lost more than 800 jobs in the last three months of 2016 with the closure of a plant and a series of layoffs at a manufacturing company.
But the project has also generated criticism. Some residents circulated a petition citing safety and environmental concerns. The plant is set to be built less than 2 miles (3.22 kilometers) from the district high school.
Grow Louisiana Coalition Executive Director Marc Ehrhardt issued the following statement regarding ExxonMobil’s announcement to develop a petrochemical plant in San Patricio County, Texas, which will generate more than $50 billion in economic output during the first six years:
“More states are competing for energy investment than ever before. Companies of all sizes and types are looking for business, legal and tax climates that are fair, impartial and predictable. Investors want to know what they are getting when investing billions of dollars in an economy.
In Louisiana, we are fighting headlines such as ‘Texas Set to Repeal the Most Terrible of Taxes, while Neighboring Louisiana Looks to Impose It.’ Morgan City Mayor Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi summed it up earlier this month: ‘We’ve got legacy lawsuits out there, we’ve got an unstable budget and our taxes are too high…We’re at a disadvantage. Our neighboring states, Mississippi and Texas, they’re open for business. Here in Louisiana, we’re just in financial trouble.’
In Texas, today’s words of Governor Greg Abbott say it best, ‘This record-breaking project illustrates that our business climate is exactly what leading and growing companies are seeking when investing in their future.’
For more than a century, ExxonMobil has made tremendous investments in Louisiana and will certainly continue to do so in the future. However, without a stable, positive environment for investment, major announcements going to other states may become more frequent, along with the thousands of jobs they represent.”