Oil and gas major Exxon Mobil has planned out a capital outlay of USD 20 billion and create 45,000 jobs over the next decade as it builds a "manufacturing powerhouse" along the Gulf Coast, a move welcomed by US president Donald Trump.
Chairman and CEO Darren Woods, a keynote speaker at 36th annual CERA Week conference here, said the projects include 11 proposed and existing sites in Texas and Louisiana.
"Many of the new jobs will be high-skilled with salaries as high as USD 100,000 a year," he said in a statement.
The announcement comes as natural gas prices, largely fuelled by the boom in fracking, dropped precipitously, reaching the lowest level in a decade last year.
"We are using new, abundant domestic energy supplies to provide products to the world at a competitive advantage resulting from lower costs and abundant raw materials," Woods said.
President Donald Trump, who made Exxon's previous CEO, Rex Tillerson, his Secretary of State, has hailed the company's expansion plan in a series of tweets.
"The spirit of optimism sweeping the country is already boosting job growth, and it is only the beginning," declared a press release from the White House.
"45,000 construction & manufacturing jobs in the US Gulf Coast region. USD 20 billion investment. We are already winning again, America," he tweeted.
The US exported about USD 91 billion of petroleum and natural gas products in 2015, according to UN Comtrade data,but it imported even more -- about USD 95 billion.
Many of the projects were previously announced, including chemical and plastics projects near Houston, refining expansions in Beaumont and Baton Rouge, and a joint venture with Saudi Arabia to build a new petrochemical plant that's tentatively scheduled for the Corpus Christi region, a statement released by the company said.
Out of nearly 47,000 jobs created, 35,000 are temporary construction positions and 12,000 are full-time, permanent jobs, it said.
The shale revolution and its newfound volumes of oil and gas are pushing the company to expand or build chemical, refining, lubricant and liquefied natural gas projects, Woods said.
Most of the new capacity is targeted at export markets, especially those in Asia.
High-growth nations are looking to support larger populations with higher standards of living, Woods said. "Those overseas markets are the motivation behind our investments," he said.
"The supply is here; the demand is there. We want to keep connecting those dots," he said.