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Exxon to Build Multibillion-Dollar Chemical Complex in China


In order to meet the anticipated growth in chemical products demand in China, Exxon Mobil Corporation XOM has inked a cooperation framework agreement with the Guangdong Provincial People’s Government.

The agreement relates to proceeding with the discussions involving the proposed construction of a multibillion-dollar chemical complex in the Huizhou Dayawan Petrochemical Industrial Park. The framework agreement establishes support of Guangdong Province’s in moving ahead with the Huizhou LNG receiving terminal, in which Exxon plans to participate, including supply of LNG.

The project will comprise 1.2-million-tonsperyear ethylene flexible feed steam cracker, two performance polyethylene lines and two differentiated performance polypropylene lines. The new complex will use sophisticated proprietary technologies for direct crude steam cracking and performance polymers manufacturing.

Several factors, including receipt of permits and project competitiveness, will influence Exxon’s decision to advance with the project. The project is scheduled to come online in 2023.

Exxon proposes to boost chemicals manufacturing capacity in Asia Pacific and North America by about 40%. Thus, the company is appraising various chemicals manufacturing projects in Asia to help meet estimated demand growth in the region.

The company intends to add 13 new facilities, of which two will be world-class steam crackers in the United States, to meet cater to growth. This forms a part of Exxon’s ‘Growing the Gulf’ initiative. These initiatives will enable the company to meet growing demand in Asia and other emerging markets.

Recently, Exxon’s new 1.5-million ton per year ethane cracker at the company’s integrated Baytown chemical and refining complex in Texas was commissioned. Exxon and SABIC have also formed a new joint venture to accelerate the development of the Gulf Coast Growth Ventures project. Currently, a 1.8-million ton ethane cracker has been planned to be constructed in San Patricio County, Texas. The facility will include a monoethylene glycol unit and two polyethylene units.

Exxon already has a downstream and chemical business presence in China, wherein it operates mainly through its affiliate, Shanghai-based ExxonMobil (China) Investment Co. Ltd. The company has also partnered with Sinopec, Fujian Province and Saudi Aramco in China’s first integrated refining and petrochemical facility to incorporate international participation.

Price Performance

In the past year, Exxon’s shares have increased 3.3% compared with the industry’s 11.6% rise.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

ExxonMobil currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A few better-ranked players in the same sector are Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. PBR, or Petrobras SA, Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc. HLX and TC Pipelines, LP TCP. All these stocks flaunt a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Petrobras is the largest integrated energy firm in Brazil and one of the major players in Latin America. It pulled off an average positive earnings surprise of 10.4% in the last four quarters.

Helix Energy offers specialty services to the offshore energy industry. The company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 66.7% in the trailing four quarters.

TC Pipelines purchases, owns and actively participates in the management of U.S.-based natural gas pipelines and related assets. The company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 3.7% in the last four quarters.

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