The plant, which could be online as soon as Y 2016, would increase Exxon Mobil's chemical production capacity and help it compete more effectively with rival Dow Chemical Co (NYSE:DOW), the largest US chemical maker.

Exxon Mobil has been North America's largest Nat Gas producer since its 2010 purchase of XTO Energy Inc.

Its decision to build the new plant comes after an announcements by Dow, as well as Royal Dutch Shell Plc (NYSE:RDS-A), LyondellBasell (NYSE:LYB) and others to expand their US chemical production.

Shale Gas gives US producers a large cost advantage over European and Asian rivals, many of whom have to use Crude Oil-derived Naphtha to make chemicals.

Exxon Mobil's plant will be built at the company's Baytown complex and is expected to produce 1.5-M tons annually of Ethylene, a Key material in plastics production.

The company also plans 2 new polyethylene production facilities, each with an annual capacity of 650,000 tons per year, at its nearby Mont Belvieu complex.

Construction should begin in March 2013.

Exxon Mobil filed with the US Environmental Protection Agency and Texas officials early in May, and expects regulatory approval within this year.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr. writes and publishes The Red Roadmaster's Technical Report on the US Major Market Indices, a weekly, highly-regarded financial market letter, read by opinion makers, business leaders and organizations around the world.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr has studied the global financial and stock markets since 1984, following a successful business career that included investment banking, and market and business analysis. He is a specialist in equities/commodities, and an accomplished chart reader who advises technicians with regard to Major Indices Resistance/Support Levels.