BEAUMONT, Texas — An $8.5 billion plant expansion that Orange County officials have been hoping for since early 2019 is now coming to fruition.
Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC announced on Wednesday that it has selected a site in Orange County for an "integrated polymers" facility in partnership with QatarEnergy.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: The above video first aired in April 2019.)
Orange County officials believe there would be a $51 billion economic impact on the county over 20 years according to 12News file stories.
The company says the new plant will create more than 500 full-time jobs as well as about 4,500 construction jobs while the facility is built. Chevron official said they are looking to hire area talent.
“The use of local talent is a must,” Bryan Canfield, vice president of Chevron said. “I have experience working in that area twice. Lamar has produced a lot of high caliber employees. I have worked with as well as lit. They are so essential.”
The new facility would not be far from the Chevron Phillips Chemical plant on FM1006.
A joint venture company, Golden Triangle Polymers Company LLC, has been created by the two companies for the project, according to a Chevron Phillips news release.
Many county officials are happy with the new big business moving in including Megan Layne , the executive director of the Orange Grown Department. She believes when one business moves in, others will likely follow.
“The opportunity for other commercial retailers to have residential growth that Orange County needs and is excited to see,” Layne said. “And so we are excited to see the potential of large retailers to come in and create other jobs.”
While many are excited about the upcomimg facility, there are some people who shared concerns such as increased traffic in the area.
Orange County Judge John Gothia acknowledges that there may be some growing pains given the new addition but said the county is working to address such concerns.
“With Orange there is a lot of history there. We have been there since 1955, us and our predecessors, with a good demonstrative of being a good neighbor," said the vice president of manufacturing, Bryan Canfield. "We have had a lot of strong support from the community members, and it turned out to be the right answer."
With construction starting immediately, company representatives are hopeful that the new plant will open in 2026.
Chevron Phillips Chemical owns owns the majority of the company with a 51% equity share while QatarEnergy owns a 49% share according to the release.
Back in April of 2021 land was cleared along Texas Highway 87 near the Orange County Airport in preparation for the possibility that the plant would come to the county according to 12News file stories.
As construction starts immediately-- they are hoping to be finished entirely in 20-26
At the time Chevron Phillips representatives described the work as “land improvements” saying if the company approves Orange County as the site for the expansion then the site will be ready for construction according to Orange County Economic Development Director Jessica Hill.
Chevron Phillips owns about 1,560 acres of land, mostly undeveloped, along Highway 87 according to records from the Orange County Appraisal District.
In July 2020 the company delayed the decision on the possible expansion project in Orange County until sometime in 2021 according to file stories.
Orange County officials cleared the way for the project in February 2020, approving a major tax break for Chevron Phillips in a deal commissioners felt was a game changer for the local economy.
While Chevron Phillips considered every one of their locations along the Gulf Coast as options for the expansion, their plants in Orange and Sweeny, Texas, seemed to be the front runners for the project.
Chevron Phillips had originally planned to announce its decision on where they would build their expansion between October and December of 2020. The new facility will convert natural gas liquid ethane into ethylene, which is used in most plastic products. The project would also include administrative buildings, according to state documents filed in February 2019.
The 10-year, 100% tax abatement Orange County Commissioners approved for the proposed investment in February 2020 came after months of turmoil between commissioners and a former county judge.
In February 2019, Chevron Phillips filed for state tax incentives for the project on 1,700 acres of undeveloped near their current Orange County facility on Dupont Drive.
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This is a developing story. We will update with more if and when we receive more confirmed information.