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400 approved for ExxonMobil contractor list

An architectural rendering of what will be the world’s largest steam cracker plant, which is planned for San Patricio County. Courtesy illustration

More than 400 Coastal Bend companies are now on a priority list to do business with the ExxonMobil ethylene steam cracker plant planned for the Gregory-Portland area in San Patricio County. A spokesman for Gulf Coast Growth Ventures, which is managing the project for ExxonMobil and Saudi Basic Industries Corp., said the deadline to get on the list has been extended to Dec. 29.

“We are committed to engaging and hiring qualified local businesses,” said John Mabry, ExxonMobil Chemical Co. operations manager for GCGV. “The Pre-Screened Local Vendors List … ensures local vendors, contractors and service providers have an opportunity to compete for work with the project.”

Of the businesses that have completed the pre-screening program to date, 90 are San Patricio County businesses, more than 300 are Nueces County businesses and 95 are minority-owned businesses. A total of 550 applied.

“A large number of those (not yet approved) either didn’t complete the application or didn’t fully understand some of the parts,” Mabry said. “That’s part of the reason we are extending the deadline.”

Over the next month, every business that applied will be notified whether they have successfully made the list or need to followup with more information. Next, the initial list of pre-screened businesses will be given to the Engineering Procurement and Construction contractors, which will develop budgets and seek quotes. That could begin within the next few months and will most likely continue for a year or more.

“There’s still plenty of time for people to express their interest and to get involved,” Mabry said.

The types of businesses needed include everything from concrete to electrical contractors. Security, fences, cleaning and vehicles are just a few of the other on-site needs sought. Off-site needs include corporate housing, catering, stationary supplies and rentals.

“Almost anything you can think of, we’ll need,” Mabry said.

Some of those needs could create a new demand on the economy that could be met by starting a new business. Mabry urged entrepreneurs to work closely with Del Mar College’s Small Business Development Center.

“They are a great resource,” he said. “If you have a great idea, this is not a bad time to start working on it as we grow.”

Site work has begun on the 1,300-acre site, which was chosen over sites in Victoria and Louisiana. Land is being cleared, but building construction work cannot begin until air-quality permits are obtained from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Permits are expected by the end of 2018 or early 2019.

Construction will peak in 2020 with completion set for 2021. GCGV expects to hire 6,000 construction workers over that time, down from the original projection of 11,000.

Anyone interested in doing business with the world’s largest steam cracker plant should visit for more information. Applications may be submitted online at that address. Contractor screening company Veriforce charges for the screening process, but the fee is waived for businesses in San Patricio or Nueces counties.

Placement on the Pre-Screened Local Vendors List does not guarantee work for the project, Mabry said. Businesses must complete the bid process and meet all contractor requirements before being formally selected.

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