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ExxonMobil Plant Breaks Ground

Backhoes stand ready to dig into the earth during groundbreaking ceremonies September 12 at the ExxonMobil-SABIC plastics plant being built in Gregory near Corpus Christi. About 200 local officials watched on screen from inside the Orientation and Training Center on site. Courtesy photo

Backhoes swung buckets into action on cue during groundbreaking ceremonies September 12 at the $10 billion ExxonMobil-SABIC plastics plant in Gregory near Corpus Christi. As the buckets dug into the earth, about 200 local officials cheered from the comfort of an air-conditioned auditorium as they watched the action on large screens inside the Orientation and Training Center on site.

“Today, it’s really a historical day for our partnership with SABIC and ExxonMobil,” said Yousef Al-Benyan, vice chairman and CEO of Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corp. “But this partnership is not between two parties. In fact, today, I have to say, looking at the participants and local communities being part of it, I feel this is really three partnerships: ExxonMobil, SABIC, and you.”’

Construction of the world’s largest steam cracker plant began this summer immediately after the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality granted permits. According to projections, about 6,000 construction workers will be hired to build the facility, which will be home to around 600 permanent positions. The plant is expected to be completed sometime in 2022.

“(Gulf Coast Growth Ventures) is committed to constructing and running these facilities in a safe and environmentally responsible manner,” said Karen McKee, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Co. “We are dedicated to earning your trust as a valuable and responsible neighbor. Doing so ensures that we can provide customers around the world with high-quality products that improve their businesses.”

Gulf Coast Growth Ventures was formed by the ExxonMobil-SABIC partnership to build and operate the plant. The group pledged to hire locally as much as possible. It set up a Good Neighbor Program two years ago to vet local businesses for contract services and supplies. It has also worked closely with Del Mar College to set up classes to prepare the workforce necessary to run the plant. To date, GCGV has donated more than $1 million for training equipment and scholarships. So far, 70 percent of the 200 people hired to operate the plant have been hired locally, according to a GCGV media release.

McKee predicted the plant would be environmentally safe and an asset to the community for at least the next four decades.

“I fully anticipate that this site will be a dynamic and integral part of this community for forty and more years to come in the future,” she said.

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