Bobby Patel, a local small-business magnate is very optimistic about his home town in Texas. The town is home to ExxonMobil sites including a refinery and a polyethylene facility.
Patel is so optimistic about the town’s future, he is investing $2.5 million in his businesses there over the next five years. He’s not the only one optimistic about Beaumont, Texas though. ExxonMobil is expanding its facilities there, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on upgrading its refinery to remove sulfur.
In December ExxonMobil completed a project to increase the refinery’s capacity and to give it the ability to process light crude. But even more development is coming, as ExxonMobil’s Energy Factor writes:
Between these two, the company will have created 825 temporary construction jobs. Those expansions and upgrades at the refinery are just one of the projects undertaken by ExxonMobil as part of its Growing the Gulf effort, which is adding $20 billion in planned and proposed investments and up to 45,000 jobs over the next 10 years.
The largest ongoing expansion, however, is at the company’s polyethylene facility, which is predicted to add 1,400 construction jobs through 2019.
That energy is contagious.
The city is now home to new restaurants and entertainment options. The Edison Plaza, Beaumont’s only class-A office space, is almost completely full and the city is working on zoning that would allow the building of a new hotel by the river, according to Regina Lindsey, president of the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce.
The growth in the food industry alone would make city leaders in other cities hungry.
“Over the last five years, we have seen the restaurant industry completely transformed,” said Kayla Fisher, who, with her chef husband Scott, runs the Green Light Kitchen downtown. “A lot more entrepreneurs are taking more risk and putting themselves out there, and I think our area has been extremely receptive to that.”
But, the area that has seen the most direct benefit from the petrochemical expansion is construction. Chuck Mason, who, along with his family, runs Mason Construction, has seen the company his grand-father started in 1939 grow from six to well over 400 employees, based mostly on servicing ExxonMobil and other refiners.
“Really, anybody in the Golden Triangle who’s in construction, is doing a lot of work in the plants,” said Chuck Mason. “I mean, that’s what we do here.”
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