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Exxon Mobil (XOM) to Follow Strategy and Boost Polypropylene

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Exxon Mobil Corporation XOM recently commenced with a potential U.S. Gulf Coast project, intending to grow its capacity of producing polypropylene up to 450,000 tons a year. The company started the detailed engineering work of the project as it foresees a rise in demand for high-performance, lightweight durable plastics.

The final decision on the multi-billion facility, expected to come online in 2021, will be made this year. The construction period is expected to create more than 600 jobs. Once the project comes online, it will generate in excess of 60 permanent jobs. 

Project Rationale

The advanced polypropylene products from the facility can be used in several businesses including high performance automotive, appliance and packaging applications. The low-toxin plastic's other uses include increasing fuel efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. The global demand for higher-value plastic products is increasing in the recent days, mainly in the Asia Pacific region and North America. Exxon Mobil plans to capitalize the opportunity to further diversify its revenue sources.

Additionally, the growth in domestic oil and gas supplies not only resulted in reduced energy costs but also increased the feedstock sources for chemical manufacturing in the United States that can increase the largest publicly-traded international energy company's profitability.

This potential investment is part of Exxon Mobil's Gulf Coast expansion strategies and also in line with the company's intention to invest $50 billion in the United States through the next five years. Additionally, it is expected to help the company reach its goal of doubling annual earnings by 2025.

Price Performance

Irving, TX-based ExxonMobil has lost 9.6% in a year against 6.1% rise witnessed by the industry it belongs to.


Zacks Rank and Stocks to Consider

ExxonMobil carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A few better-ranked stocks in the oil and energy sector are Pioneer Natural Resources Company PXD, Continental Resources, Inc. CLR and W&T Offshore, Inc. WTI, each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Irving, TX-based Pioneer Natural is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company. Its revenues for first-quarter 2018 are anticipated to improve 23.7% from the prior-year quarter. The company witnessed a positive average earnings surprise of 66.9% in the trailing four quarters.

Oklahoma City, OK-based Continental Resources is an oil and gas exploration and production company. Its revenues for first-quarter 2018 are expected to improve 55.2% from the year-ago quarter. For 2018, the bottom line is anticipated to be up 364.7%.

Houston, TX-based W&T Offshore is an upstream energy player. Its earnings for 2018 are anticipated to improve 3.6% year over year. The company witnessed a positive average earnings surprise of 542.8% in the trailing four quarters.

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