Exxon looks to expand light crude refining capacity
ExxonMobil Corp is considering expanding light crude processing capacity at its Beaumont, Texas, refinery with the addition of a third crude distillation unit, a company spokeswoman said on Thursday.This is a needed move. A lot of the Texas light crude is being exported because of a lack of refining capacity, meanwhile, the US is still importing heavy crude from Venezuela as that country slides ever deeper into a failed state. With the US already threatening sanctions against the despotic regime, the US needs alternative refining capacity to make up for the potential loss of Venezuelan oil. The Venezuelan oil could be replaced by some Canadian production, but transport would be a consideration because of the failure to complete the Keystone XL pipeline.
If approved, construction could begin on Unit C in 2019 and be completed in 2022, said Exxon spokeswoman Charlotte Huffaker. She declined to disclose the contemplated capacity or possible cost of the Unit C expansion.
"These investments reflect the increased availability of abundant, affordable supplies of U.S. light crude," Huffaker said.
The expansion would be part of the $20-billion 'Growing the Gulf' project announced in March by Exxon Chairman and Chief Executive Darren Woods.
While Exxon has mentioned potential expansion of light oil refining capacity at the Beaumont plant as part of that project, this is the first time the company has talked about Unit C and given a timeline for possible construction.