GREGORY, Texas — Construction is underway on the new ExxonMobil plant that will be built in our area.
It will be the largest plant of its kind in the world.
When the plant is up and running, it’s expected to bring 600 permanent jobs to the Coastal Bend and another 6,000 jobs during its construction phase.
This is a huge opportunity for economic development in this 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,” State Rep. J.M. Lozano (R-Kingsville) said.
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, San Patricio County Economic Development Director.
The multi-billion project is a joint effort between ExxonMobil and Sabic. It will be a world-class project built right here in the Coastal Bend.
"This is a game changer,” Lozano said. “It's the largest of this size to be done anywhere in the world."
The petrochemicals complex will be built in this area behind me. It's about 1,350 acres and 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.
And after the ground-breaking 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, the entire community," Edwards said.
By the end of the year, big modules that were made overseas will also be transported to the construction site here in Gregory-Portland.
And construction of the plant is expected to be finished by December 2022.
Gulf Coast Growth Ventures already has hired about 200 people to operate the plant, with about 70 percent of those hired locally.
The group has also donated $114,000 in scholarships to Del Mar College.