Innovation and integration resulting in greater feedstock flexibility have provided a significant competitive advantage for ExxonMobil’s chemical business, Steve Pryor, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Company, told attendees at the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association 8th Annual Forum today.
Pryor noted that the feedstock landscape is always shifting, influenced by trends and innovations within the chemical industry, as well as in the upstream and refining sectors.
“As an integrated company, ExxonMobil is constantly moving feedstock across our upstream, downstream and chemical operations to generate the most value from each molecule,” said Pryor.
“For example, in Europe, our Rotterdam aromatics plant has been designed to receive feedstock from nine ExxonMobil refineries and chemical plants. Pooling feedstock supply, together with advanced technology, has enabled this plant to become the largest and one of the most profitable in the region.”
Pryor said feedstock flexibility remains a central element of ExxonMobil Chemical’s investment strategy.
“For example, in the U.S. Gulf Coast, we expanded our gas cracking capability while retaining our capacity to process refinery liquids,” Pryor said. ExxonMobil has also continued to develop new technologies that raise the bar on feedstock flexibility. “A case in point is the new steam cracker at our Singapore refining and petrochemical complex. This world-scale unit can process an unprecedented range of feedstocks, including crude oil.”
Converting crude directly into chemicals provides a cost advantage over naphtha feedstock, the industry standard in Asia, Pryor said. It also saves energy and reduces emissions by eliminating the refining steps required to produce naphtha.
“Crude cracking is a first for our company, a first for the world, and yet another step in our industry’s ongoing search for advantaged chemical feedstock,” he said. “For chemical companies to maintain a competitive advantage in this ever-changing environment, we must continuously innovate across the value chain -- from our raw materials to our finished products.”