- The Washington Times - Monday, March 6, 2017

President Trump pointed to a $20 billion expansion plan by Exxon Mobil Corp. Monday as an example of “the spirit of optimism sweeping the country.”

“This is exactly the kind of investment, economic development and job creation that will help put Americans back to work,” Mr. Trump said in a statement. “Many of the products that will be manufactured here in the United States by American workers will be exported to other countries, improving our balance of trade.”

Exxon Mobil CEO Darren Woods said Monday at an oil and gas conference in Houston that the company will spend $20 billion by 2020 on its “Growing the Gulf” initiative. The investment in 11 major chemical, refining, lubricant and liquefied natural gas projects along the Texas and Louisiana coasts could create 35,000 construction jobs, and 12,000 full-time jobs, Mr. Woods said.

“Hydraulic fracturing has opened up a whole new energy future for the United States, and potential for many other countries,” he said. “An upstream technology breakthrough has led to a downstream manufacturing renaissance. It has created new manufacturing jobs, investment and exports.”

Before Rex Tillerson was tapped by Mr. Trump as secretary of State, Mr. Tillerson was CEO of Exxon Mobil.

Mr. Woods said such large-scale investments “require a pro-growth approach and a stable regulatory environment and we appreciate the president’s commitment to both.”

The White House said the new jobs are likely to pay between $75,000 to $125,000 annually.

Mr. Woods also issued a warning Monday against some of the protectionist trade policies envisioned by Mr. Trump

he warned about some of the unintended consequences that could result from moving down the more protectionist, isolationist path promulgated by President Trump:

“Policies in the form of subsidies, mandates and trade barriers only hinder progress,” Mr. Wood said. “They are more expensive and lead to poor investment decisions, focused on the limitations imposed, not true innovation. The real drive to innovate comes from competition in a free market. The only way to keep winning in a competitive industry is to keep innovating.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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