Construction is underway on a new ExxonMobil plant that will be built in our area. It will be the largest plant of its kind in the world and will bring hundreds of jobs to the Coastal Bend.
The petrochemicals plant is being built in Portland, and when it's finished, it's expected to bring 600 permanent jobs to the area, and another 6,000 jobs during construction.
State Representative J.M. Lozano says it's a huge opportunity for economic development in the area.
"People all around the Coastal Bend are going to start seeing a light, a glimmer of hope for the kinds of jobs that are life changing," said Lozano.
Those jobs will provide an average annual salary of $90,000 for those who will work at the plant. But it's the economic ripple effect that makes this such a winner for the community.
"Those people need haircuts, and they need to buy cars and they need to buy groceries," said Foster Edwards, the Economic Development Director for San Patricio County. "It's going to expand the community's job base many times over the 600 (who will work there)."
The multi-billion dollar project is a joint effort between ExxonMobil and SABIC. It'll be a world-class project built right here in the Coastal Bend.
"This is a game changer," said Lazano. "It's the largest of this size to be done anywhere in the world."
The petrochemicals complex will be built on a lot that's 1,350 acres large, which is about the size of 1,000 football fields.
When it's completed, the plant will produce materials that can be used to make things like clothing, construction parts and plastic products.
Gulf Coast Growth Ventures got the necessary permits earlier this year to begin construction. Now, after the groundbreaking ceremony, it's the start of a new beginning of opportunity in South Texas.
"They are helping the schools, they are helping the cities, they are helping the churches, (and) the entire community," said Edwards.
What's next for the plant? Big modules are being made overseas that will be transported to the facility site by the end of the year. Construction of the plant is expected to be finished by December 2022.
Gulf Coast Growth Ventures has already hired about 200 people to operate the plant. 70% of the hires are local. The group has also donated $114,000 in scholarships to Del Mar College.