🔺 NJ research center in Clinton

🔺 Company is condensing operations

🔺 Warehouse plans have worried town

CLINTON TOWNSHIP – ExxonMobil has announced that it will condense its operations and close up a research center in Hunterdon County, sending hundreds of jobs out of state.

Clinton has been home to ExxonMobil’s Research and Engineering Technology Center, involving over 400 labs, 850 offices and “92 pilot plants,” according to the company website.

A majority of up to 600 employees in NJ would be offered roles at the company’s existing headquarters in Houston, Texas, Bloomberg reported.

ExxonMobil pays Clinton Township $3.5 million a year in property taxes, MyCentralJersey.com previously reported.

ExxonMobil Research Center in Clinton (Google Maps)
ExxonMobil Research Center in Clinton (Google Maps)

Clinton Township Mayor Brian Mullay said the town was "incredibly disappointed" by the announcement.

"ExxonMobil's Research and Engineering facility has been a part of the Clinton Township community since it opened over four decades ago, supporting thousands of jobs in that time," Mullay said in an email to New Jersey 101.5.

Mullay continued, "We will work closely with our partners at Hunterdon County Economic Development & Tourism, the NJ Highlands Council and ExxonMobil to ensure that the developable portion of the property continues to contribute to our area's economic success and that the ecologically critical areas are preserved to protect our environment."

attachment-Image Hunterdon County

The moves also involves staff in Ontario, Canada, and would be done in phases by 2028, according to the same report.

ExxonMobil’s 757-acre campus in Hunterdon County sits between Routes 22 and 31 in the Annadale section, of which the company has been actively using about 150-acres.

In 2017, ExxonMobil announced it was expanding Clinton operations and transferred roughly 300 employees from a research center in Paulsboro, which then closed, according to Chemical and Engineering News.

Last fall, ExxonMobil publicly presented a proposal to rezone its massive property, in order to allow for warehouse development.

ExxonMobil Research Center in Clinton (Google Maps)
ExxonMobil Research Center in Clinton (Google Maps)

"We don't see growth in the future," ExxonMobil commercial portfolio manager Joe Wong told the Clinton Township Council at a September meeting, MyCentralJersey.com reported. 

At the same meeting, Wong said the Clinton research and development facility recently has included between 500 and 600 employees.

More than half of the workforce at the NJ research center hold “advanced degrees in engineering, chemistry and many more areas,” according to ExxonMobil's corporate site.

Residents of Clinton have been grappling with possible development on the hundreds of unused acres at the ExxonMobil site, as detailed in numerous entries on the blog, Exmayor.com.

In March, an anonymously written post talked about a focus group that had recently been held, concerning future plans for the corporate property in Clinton.

ExxonMobil move stark ‘reminder’ on business climate

The New Jersey Business and Industry Association reacted to the news of ExxonMobil’s consolidation, saying it was a “reminder” that NJ needs to greatly improve its business climate.

"With this consolidation, New Jersey is effectively losing hundreds of good-paying, high-educated jobs at a facility that was on the cutting edge of clean energy technologies,” NJBIA Deputy Chief of Government Affairs Officer Ray Cantor said in a written statement.

He continued, “In short, it’s a blow to the innovation economy that New Jersey strives to achieve.”

Cantor also said that having the highest corporate tax rate in the nation, as proposed by Gov. Phil Murphy, “does not help our competitiveness as corporate consolidation, expansion and relocation decisions are made every day."

Exxon has been streamlining its business divisions and cutting its workforce for about four years, Bloomberg also reported.

The oil giant has been working toward $15 billion in cost reductions by 2027.

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