When considering the grand scope of the slate of investments and exports currently coming into the United States, particularly in Houston and the Gulf Coast region, ExxonMobil Chemical Company’s global basic chemical vice president, Karen McKee, characterized the phenomenon as “pretty new.”
“A decade ago, we wouldn't have anticipated that we would have this huge export hub on the Gulf Coast and, specifically, in Houston,” McKee said, addressing delegates at the World Petrochemical Conference by IHS Markit, held recently in Houston, Texas.
McKee further explained that ExxonMobil Chemical Company is working very closely with Port Houston to be ready for these exports.
“I think we’re learning and I think we’re growing,” McKee said. “One of the challenges that we have in Houston is that we don’t have any heavy haul roads, and that means that containers that get exported through Port Houston cannot actually be filled to capacity in order to comply with the highway requirements,” McKee continued. “We would advocate that one of the good things that we could do here (in Houston) to help be competitive is to have heavy haul roads and combine six-axle trucks to manage the road wear and safety issues, in order to have maximum-sized containers leaving the port.”
McKee praised the industry for collaborating with the port and railroads to achieve the necessary heavy haul roads.
“Because yes, it’s a heck of a lot of growth in container traffic out of the various ports,” she said.
McKee also spoke at WPC 2017 to the issue of the demographic makeup of individuals leading the petrochemical industry, and the need for more diversity.
“We are an aging group. We need more talent to come into the industry, and that talent can take any shape or form,” she said. “We need all ethnicities, we need both genders, we need all nationalities—we need all that talent to come in. And we need a diversity of perspectives and experience and education and culture.”
McKee noted that because of the global impact of petrochemical products being utilized by a wide range of industries, “the more different perspectives you can bring to bear, the better our position will be in the industry.
“I look at it as, sort of, a world of talent—that we all attract the talent that we need into the industry, and that we really have what we need to go forward,” McKee concluded.
For more information, please visit www.wpc.markit.com and www.exxonmobilchemical.com.