HOUSTON — ExxonMobil Chemical plans to expand its Baytown, Texas, synthetic rubber plant with the addition of new machinery and the modification of existing equipment.
The company´s aim is to increase its Exxon bromobutyl rubber capacity by 60 percent, according to a spokeswoman. She said the expansion is in response to strong demand in the global halobutyl rubber market and tire industry. The project is expected to be completed during the second quarter of 2008.
ExxonMobil has been investing heavily in halobutyl production at the Baytown site, with projects exceeding $400 million since 2000, to remain on top of demand, said Art Sullivan, vice president of the company´s Butyl Polymers Global Business. He said the expansion demonstrates ExxonMobil´s commitment to supply its customers in the tire industry worldwide.
The firm is a major supplier of halobutyl to the tire market and has expanded its capacity by 80 percent in the last decade, ExxonMobil said.
In 2002, the company quadrupled halobutyl capacity at Baytown. More recently, a joint venture, Japan Butyl Co. Ltd., increased its halobutyl capacity to 70,000 metric tons to handle growing demand in the Asia/Pacific region.
The Exxon bromobutyl rubber capacity expansion is the company´s second major addition in the last two years.
In 2005, the firm began doubling its capability to produce Exxpro specialty elastomers, used for new high air technologies for tire inner liners, at the Baytown facility. That project is expected to be completed by the end of 2007.