Oil producing giant Exxon Mobil XOM announced it will be investing $20 billion to grow its chemical and oil refining plants on the U.S. Gulf Coast. The investments will take place at 11 sites throughout 2022. A heavy proportion of the project will be held in Beaumont, Texas where liquefied natural gas exports, oil refining capacity, and polyethylene production will be expanded.
Exxon’s expansion plan will create over 45,000 U.S. jobs, says the company. Of that, 35,000 will be temporary construction jobs and 12,000 will be permanent jobs; it is said most of the permanent jobs are expected to be high paying at $100,000 a year or more.
Already a high margin project, profitability will especially increase for Exxon if oil prices rise. The expansion hopes to curb criticism of Exxon not having much more room to grow in oil and gas exploration.
President Donald Trump has shown great enthusiasm for Exxon as the company is falling in line with President Trump’s promise of job creation.
Thank you to @exxonmobil for your $20 billion investment that is creating more than 45,000 manufacturing & construction jobs in the USA!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 7, 2017
However, this is not a new project by Exxon; it actually started in 2013 under the administration of former President Barack Obama. The Trump administration was asked if they are taking credit for a project which began even before their time in office. White House spokesperson Sean Spicer commented, saying Exxon made it clear to President Trump that these investments are being made in the United States due to his rhetoric on tax cuts and reduced regulation.
Some oil analysts on Wall Street do not find the news noteworthy, deeming job creation as something all firms are doing to get on the Trump administration’s nice-list. “At the risk of stating the obvious, plenty of companies, across various industries, have been touting their U.S. job creation efforts in order to get on the Trump administration’s good side — even when the underlying job creation has little or nothing to do with Washington policy. This is simply the latest example of that”, says Pavel Molchanov, energy analyst with Raymond James investment firm.
Recently promoted CEO of Exxon, Darren W. Woods, made the announcement of the $20 billion investment at CERAWeek, an important annual conference held in Houston, Texas for the oil industry. Shortly after, the company and the White House released notes on their end. The striking similarities of the releases hint that both were on a level of understanding.
Exxon and the White House identically stated, “The company’s Growing the Gulf expansion program, consists of 11 major chemical, refining, lubricant and liquefied natural gas projects at proposed new and existing facilities along the Texas and Louisiana coasts. Investments began in 2013 and are expected to continue through at least 2022.”
White House press release (left) contains full paragraph copied verbatim from Exxon press release (right). pic.twitter.com/NlhoUvdqvd— Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) March 6, 2017
All in all, it seems that President Trump is taking credit for job creation from a project which began four years before his presidency; Exxon and the White House look to have similar agendas as portions of their official statements reported exactly the same news.
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