ExxonMobil’s $500M polyolefins plant addition on track for startup this year


ExxonMobil’s $500 million addition to its Scenic Highway polyolefins plant is about 75% complete, with startup expected before the end of the year, officials say.

The project will double the plant’s capacity to produce polypropylene, used in lightweight durable plastics, by 450,000 metric tons per year, the company says. Construction was slowed due in part to the pandemic-related slowdown in automobile production, though polypropylene sales picked up amid rising demand for medical supplies.

Work has begun on a three-year, $400 million update of the company’s Baton Rouge refinery. Officials say the modernized refinery will be more competitive and emit 10% less volatile organic compounds.

At a public presentation today, Bonnie Eckhart, who manages ExxonMobil’s lubricants facility in Port Allen, touted the company’s effort to achieve “net-zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. She says combined emissions in the Baton Rouge area of volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are down almost 40% over the past decade.

Economist Stephen Barnes says an average of 3,358 employees and 3,650 contractors worked at ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge operations in 2019 and 2020. He says almost $300 million was invested during that time.