Gulf of Mexico
ExxonMobil and SABIC are proposing to build the world's largest ethane steam cracker near the Gulf community of Portland. These renderings show the siting of the facility, which would produce 1.8 million metric tons of ethylene and polyethylene yearly when complete. Photo: Courtesy photo / Courtesy photo

Huge Exxon-SABIC petrochemical project near Corpus Christi clears state permitting hurdle

A controversial $10 billion petrochemical project near Corpus Christi has achieved a major permitting milestone that will bring it a step closer to constructing the biggest petrochemical plant in Texas.

State officials have granted permits for a controversial petrochemical plant just north of Corpus Christi.

During a Wednesday morning meeting, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality granted a series of permits to a $10 billion plant proposed Gulf Coast Growth Ventures.

A joint venture of Exxon Mobil and Saudi-owned SABIC, the proposed ethylene cracker will take crude oil from the Eagle Ford Shale and the Permian Basin to make chemicals used in plastics.

The project faces stiff opposition from neighbors in the towns of Gregory and Portland, who cite concerns about safety and the environment.

After hearing more than 30 minutes of testimony from both sides, TCEQ officials sided with the company.

"I want to urge GCGV and concerned community members to be good neighbors." TCEQ Chairman Jon Niermann said following the decision.

Opponents are expected to request a rehearing on the decision. It's not clear if Gulf Coast Growth Ventures will begin construction but Niermann urged the company to take caution based on the financial risk of beginning construction and then receiving an adverse order.

"If they begin construction, they would be be doing so at their own peril," Niermann said.

See Houston Chronicle article . . .