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ExxonMobil: Jobs, Investment, and Waste-to-Energy Conversion at One of World's Top Petrochemical Hubs


One of the world’s largest and most integrated petrochemical hubs can be found around Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In fact, ExxonMobil’s operations there include a refinery, chemical plant, plastics plant, resins facility, and polyolefins plant, plus a lubricants facility across the river in Port Allen. Together, the company’s local operations produce 3.6 billion gallons of gasoline and billions of pounds of petrochemical products every year.

Not surprisingly, ExxonMobil is the largest manufacturing employer in the state, with more than 5,000 employees and contractors. The Louisiana economy also benefits from 41,500 jobs supported indirectly by the company’s operations.

Between 2010 and 2013, ExxonMobil made nearly $1 billion in capital investments in Louisiana, according to Paul Stratford, manager of its Baton Rouge chemical plant. Such investments are necessary to ensure that the company remains in a position to respond to the needs of its customers. For example, ExxonMobil is now investing $215 million, split between a synthetic lubricants project in the chemical plant, and a center for manufacturing, blending, and distributing synthetic aviation oil in Port Allen.

The polyoelfins plant is noteworthy from a waste-to-energy perspective. In 1998, ExxonMobil purchased the plant, which produces high-density polyethylene and polypropylene used in making containers for food, shampoo, and detergents, as well as carpet backing, diapers, hospital gowns, automotive fuel tanks, hula hoops, shipping pallets and non-corrosive fuel tanks. The plant was one of the industry’s first to achieve ISO 9000 status.

The manufacturing process there uses steam produced by three boilers, which historically were fueled only by natural gas. Today, methane from a local landfill supplies 90 percent of the energy needed to operate one of the three boilers. Using this “waste gas” to provide energy at ExxonMobil and a second company, Novolyte, instead of burning the gas, is the equivalent, in terms of CO2 reduction, of removing 59,000 cars from the roads, according to local officials. That is a significant environmental benefit, thanks to the waste-to-energy project, which was implemented without any direct investment of taxpayer funds, after two years of R&D and an investment of $1.8 million by ExxonMobil.

Therein lies a Great Manufacturing Story of jobs, capital investment, and emissions reductions. For more great stories, click here.