BATON ROUGE, LA (FOX44) — Louisiana is home to all kinds of chemical plants and oil refineries. Do we really know what exactly goes on there or what products are actually made there?
Those huge pipes hundreds of feet above ground, the large plumes of smoke billowing from the sky and the massive containers that line Scenic Hwy are all key elements to Exxon Mobil.
"There is a lot to this but once you get it and sort it out it makes for an interesting day," said Exxon Console Operator, Rob Westfall.
Rob Westfall basically directs the chemicals in any given place and how much at one time.
"You have to look at it like your operating a vehicle," stated Console Operator, Al Bellanger.
Bellanger and Westfall operate behind the scenes, in one building where everything begins.
"Basically they are the hub of the chemical plant."
The Exxon Chemical Plant works directly with the refinery to make sure they use every molecule they can and of course recycle.
"That's really great for our business but its great for the environment as well," said SACC Furnaces Contact, Joy Aldridge. "Of our largest products are ethylene or propylene,” noted Aldridge. “Those are the precursors to your everyday plastics."
They also produce rubber, which is used for tires and soccer ball, among other things.
But what they pride themselves for is their Isopropryl Alcohol. Exxon invented it in 1920 and is now the largest manufacturer in the world.
"Anywhere you find IPA rubbing alcohol, anywhere globally, it probably came from here in Baton Rouge," said Oxy Fluids Coordinator, Amanda Root.
So now the next time you pass one of the plants located here in southern Louisiana you'll know why and how it’s important to not only us, but the country as a whole.
Exxon employs more than 5,500 people and reinvests nearly 300 million dollars in our local economy. It’s also the largest manufacturing employer in the state.