Engineering News

Motiva Expansion In SE Texas Will Eventually Employ 6,500
October 19, 2009

This time next year, about 6,500 people will be working on the Motiva Enterprises refinery expansion, project director Nick Smallwood said.

That's almost exactly a third of the current number of unemployed people in Southeast Texas, which -- as of September -- totaled 19,700.

"We think there is a huge opportunity, given the unemployment," Smallwood said.

The $7 billion project will double the refinery's daily capacity to 600,000 barrels of crude processing, making it the largest in the United States and among the top 10 in the world.

"We're probably the biggest construction project in North America," Smallwood said.

An estimated 2,800 people are at work on the project right now.

It never stopped, even though a cost review earlier this year slowed it down.

As Motiva awards new contracts, the project will shift into a more intense pace construction.

Scheduled completion is in 2012, Smallwood said.

Motiva plans to award bids to eight major contractors, which then will hire a variety of subcontractors.

It keeps international contractor Becon Construction Co. Inc. as the manager on the project.

The expansion requires a global effort, Smallwood said.

"It wouldn't be physically possible to do everything locally," he said.

But Smallwood said the project will need a skilled local workforce.

"We'll be looking locally -- Port Arthur, the Golden Triangle, and beyond. In the new year, we'll be looking to hire as many as we can," he said.

That means pipe fitters, welders, electricians, insulators and other crafts will be in great demand.

Smallwood estimated the economic impact of the project on the Southeast Texas economy at $17 billion.

The Motiva Enterprises refinery expansion by the numbers:

$7 billion-plus in actual construction to double the refinery's daily capacity to 600,000 barrels of crude oil processing, making it the largest in the United States and among the world's top 10.

$17 billion in economic activity generated

6,500 workers at peak by October 2010

Eight major contractors, hiring a variety of subcontractors

Scheduled completion in 2012.

The contractors Motiva expects to hire by late December or early January will perform the detailed work of the project, which involves installing:

3.1 million linear feet of pipe, or about 600 miles;

5.6 million linear feet of cable, or more than 1,000 miles;

78,000 tons of structural steel, more than enough to build an aircraft carrier;

285,000 cubic yards of concrete, enough for a solid cube 170 feet high if poured on a football field;

61,175 pilings to support 2,000 pieces of equipment. The pilings equal 852 miles in length, or just about the width of Texas;

310 modules, which are being built and delivered over the water from fabrication yards in Brewer, Maine; Charleston, S.C.; Corpus Christi; and Tampico, Mexico.

Source: McClatchy-Tribune Information Services -- Unrestri

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