“Things are continuing to go well with the new cracker,” Duncan said. “It helps ExxonMobil meet this growing global demand for high-performance plastic products that deliver key sustainability benefits such as lighter packaging weight, lower energy consumption and reduced emissions, further enhancing ExxonMobil’s competitiveness worldwide. An abundance of domestically produced oil and natural gas reduces energy costs and creates new sources of feedstock for U.S. Gulf refining and chemical manufacturing. At the same time, it creates jobs and expands economic activity in the area.”
Duncan is a third-generation ExxonMobil employee. Both his grandfather and father retired from the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, facility, and ExxonMobil has always been a valued part of his life. Duncan assumed the role of ExxonMobil Baytown Olefins plant manager in October 2018. Although he is new to Baytown, Duncan has worked at ExxonMobil for more than 20 years. After earning his Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Louisiana State University in 1995, Duncan accepted a position with ExxonMobil as an equipment engineer in the Baton Rouge chemical plant. Over the next several years, he worked in various manufacturing leadership positions in the Baton Rouge complex as well as a marketing role in the chemicals headquarters in Houston.
In 2011, Duncan transferred to Beaumont, Texas, to serve as technical manager at the Beaumont chemical plant. In 2013, he moved to Singapore and became the Asia Pacific regional manufacturing manager, responsible for manufacturing operations in China and manufacturing planning for the Asia Pacific region. He returned to the U.S. in 2015 to become the Beaumont polyethylene plant manager before coming to Baytown.
“I feel very blessed, and I’m excited to be here,” Duncan said. “I have always wanted to work in Baytown. Now, I’m fortunate to be at one of the best facilities. I’m responsible for all activities at the plant, ensuring we conduct safe and efficient operations. The safety of our employees and contractors, the surrounding community and the environment is my highest priority.”
In operation since 1979, the ExxonMobil Baytown Olefins plant is located on a 370-acre tract. The plant manufactures approximately 10 billion pounds of petrochemical products each year that are shipped via pipeline. The plant also operates 11 natural gas cogeneration units that can generate up to 550 MW, used to generate electricity and high-pressure steam across the Baytown complex.
‘Nobody Gets Hurt’
According to Duncan, ExxonMobil builds its culture of safety and health by attracting, developing and retaining individuals who share the commitment to operational excellence.
“ExxonMobil’s global health and safety goal is ‘Nobody Gets Hurt,’ and that is Job 1 in Baytown,” Duncan said. “Since 1993, the Baytown Olefins plant has been recognized as an OSHA VPP Star Site. We have a very strong safety culture here, and our No. 1 job is to achieve ExxonMobil’s core value of Nobody Gets Hurt. Also, ascribing to the American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care Codes of Management Practice and to ExxonMobil’s Operations Integrity Management Practices have enabled this plant to demonstrate publicly its care for the community in which we operate. We earn the community’s respect, trust and confidence by operating safely, preventing accidents and through active involvement in the Baytown community.”
Every year, Baytown-area employees, retirees and their families contribute thousands of hours volunteering at more than 200 organizations. In recognition of these efforts, ExxonMobil contributed more than $430,000 to nonprofit organizations where they volunteered. ExxonMobil’s Baytown-area charitable contributions totaled more than $1.2 million in 2018. In addition, ExxonMobil, employees and retirees raised $1.7 million for the 2018 United Way of Greater Baytown Area and Chambers County Campaign.
“We cherish our relationship with the Baytown community,” Duncan said. “I have already been able to witness firsthand our dedication to the surrounding community. It’s so important for us to be a good neighbor and give back to the community with our time, talent and dollars. We are community partners and proud to take leadership roles in important community initiatives to help make Baytown stronger.”
Since coming to Baytown, Duncan has enjoyed meeting community members and learning about the local organizations devoted to the betterment of the industry and community.
“For example, Lee College has an outstanding industrial training program that is preparing the next generation of employees to operate our facilities,” Duncan said. “I’ve been particularly impressed not only with their classrooms and state-of-the-art equipment but also the quality of the curriculum and instructors. I’m looking forward to continuing this partnership during my time in Baytown.”
Growing the Gulf
Duncan explained the growing middle class will have a global economic impact, resulting in rising energy usage in many developing countries.
“Technological advances have also unlocked vast new supplies of energy, particularly natural gas, which has helped lead a resurgence in American manufacturing to help meet this demand,” Duncan said.
ExxonMobil is strategically investing in new refining and chemical-manufacturing projects in the U.S. Gulf Coast region to expand its manufacturing and export capacity. The company’s more than $20 billion Growing the Gulf expansion program consists of major chemical, refining, lubricant and LNG projects at proposed new and existing facilities along the Texas and Louisiana coasts. Investments began in 2013 and are expected to continue through at least 2022.
“We strive to be the best-performing steam cracking site in the world,” Duncan stated. “World-class performance starts with ensuring Nobody Gets Hurt and protecting our community and environment. We have an extremely talented team in place to achieve this level of performance every day.”