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Exxon Could Make Beaumont The Largest Refinery In The U.S.

ExxonMobil is close to issuing a final approval of a major expansion of its Beaumont refinery complex in Texas that could make it the largest crude oil processing plant in the U.S., Reuters reported on Thursday, quoting three sources familiar with Exxon’s plans.

The Beaumont Refinery currently has the capacity to process 365,000 bpd and produces 2.8 billion gallons of gasoline annually. The Beaumont complex also includes a chemicals plant, a polyethylene plant, and a lube plant.

Exxon has estimated the total post-expansion capacity for the Beaumont refinery to be between 700,000 bpd and 850,000 bpd, according to Reuters. This capacity would be higher than the current largest refinery in the U.S., Motiva’s Port Arthur refinery in Texas, which has a crude processing capacity of more than 600,000 bpd and is North America’s biggest refinery.

Exxon has been considering the addition of a third crude distillation unit (CDU) at the Beaumont refinery, but according to one of Reuters’ sources, the U.S. supermajor is still “crunching the numbers” on the capacity of that third unit.

The company is looking to increase its light crude refining operations in North America, but has not made any specific decisions yet, spokeswoman Sarah Nordin told Reuters. “The Beaumont refinery is being considered as part of that evaluation,” Nordin noted.

If approved, the major expansion of the Beaumont refinery would signal that Exxon wants to increasingly take advantage of the second boom in the U.S. shale production.

Last month, the company said that it planned to triple its total daily production in the Permian Basin to more than 600,000 oil-equivalent barrels by 2025. Exxon also plans to invest more than US$2 billion on transportation infrastructure to support its Permian operations.

The higher production will provide low-cost supply and feedstocks to ExxonMobil’s downstream and chemical operations in Baytown, Beaumont, and Mt. Belvieu, Texas, and in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the oil giant said in January.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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