Yesterday, April 19th, Exxon announced plans to build the world’s largest ethane steam cracker plant just miles from Corpus Christi.

The proposed $9.3 billion facility would be built in the Gregory-Portland area and transform natural gas into ethylene and polyethylene to produce plastics.

The San Antonio Express-News reports Exxon and Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corp. plan to purchase the 1,600-acre plot because it’s near railroads, a major port and offshore rigs, plus it's within 100 miles of the Eagle Ford Shale oil field with sedimentary land chockful of oil and natural gas.

Portland-Gregory area residents are divided on how they feel about the project. There is concern that the site is just under 2 miles from the region’s high school and junior high, and fairly close to the town centers.

There is concern the plant’s emissions will blow into town, causing a variety of health problems. Some also feel that it would lead to more plants in the region, blocking future city growth in the region.

Exxon is filing air quality and wastewater permits through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and a group called Portland Citizens United is fighting those permits. Their position is that blocking those permits would force Exxon to use the most state-of-the-art technology available to reduce emissions as much as possible.

One thing is for sure...If it is approved, a lot of jobs will be created!