The United Kingdom-based Wood Group apparently has signed on to do engineering and construction work for a nearly $8 billion petrochemical complex near Corpus Christi that’s led by Exxon Mobil and Saudi Arabia.
The Gulf Coast Growth Ventures project by Exxon Mobil and the Saudi Basic Industries Corp., called SABIC, could begin construction next year in the Gregory-Portland area after the proper state environmental permits are received. The goal is for the facility to come online in 2022.
The project has received some community resistance, but is moving forward as planned after receiving tax incentives from the county and school board.
The aim is to build a major chemicals and plastics campus that would include a mass ethane cracker that takes the ethane from shale oil and gas production and turns it into ethylene, the primary building block of most plastics. The project also would include two polyethylene units to manufacture the world’s most common plastic and a monoethylene glycol plant to make polyester and other plastics.
Wood Group, which is a major Houston employer, announced the new five-year contract for a Gulf Coast project that matches the exact description of the Exxon-SABIC joint venture. However, neither Wood nor Exxon Mobil would confirm that the projects are the same. But there is no other announced project in the works with similar specifications, said Hassan Ahmed, a chemicals analyst with New York-based Alembic Global Advisors.
Wood said it will deploy about 1,100 of its employees for the project during peak construction. Exxon and SABIC have said the complex will employ about 600 people once construction is finished.
Wood also is working with SABIC on a major petrochemical complex within Saudi Arabia. The Gulf Coast Growth Ventures project also has completed some engineering work with two other joint ventures, Chiyoda Kiewit and CTCI McDermott.