ExxonMobil announced March 1 it will add a polypropylene manufacturing unit to its vast greater Baton Rouge petrochemical complex, representing a capital investment of at least $469 million.
Gov. John Bel Edwards described the project as an important investment for keeping one of Louisiana's leading industries vibrant and competitive as it creates quality jobs for the Capital Region's workforce.
"This is a great day for the Capital Region and the state of Louisiana. ExxonMobil has been a strong partner for Louisiana, and I am excited to see their commitment to our state solidified with this announcement," Edwards said. "I am thankful to Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, the Metro Council, the school board and the sheriff, who all publicly supported this project and endorsed the ITEP application for it, as did the state's Board of Commerce and Industry. Louisiana's economy is continuing to grow. Our GDP is the highest on record, and that's because we're diversifying our economy and attracting new business. This new investment is welcome news, and I am looking forward to working with ExxonMobil as they continue to expand in Louisiana and as our state continues on this path of economic growth."
As reported by ExxonMobil, construction will begin later this year, and the plant is expected to be put into operation by 2021. The project will create 65 new jobs, and Louisiana Economic Development estimates it also will result in 219 indirect jobs, for a total of 284 new jobs for Baton Rouge and the Capital Region.
ExxonMobil also estimates the project will generate about 600 construction jobs. With the expansion, ExxonMobil will increase its production of polypropylene by 450,000 tons per year and position the polyolefins plant for even further growth in coming years.
LED and ExxonMobil opened discussions on this project in late 2017 after learning that Louisiana would have the opportunity to compete for new jobs and investment under ExxonMobil's Growing the Gulf initiative, the company's 10-year plan to invest more than $20 billion to expand manufacturing facilities along the U.S. Gulf Coast. LED welcomed the news to compete for significant investment with a company that has had a presence in this community and this state for 110 years.
"The importance of manufacturing to Louisiana cannot be overstated," Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson said. "Manufacturing provides Louisiana with 140,000 direct jobs that pay an average estimate of 53 percent more than nonmanufacturing jobs and hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs.
"Manufacturing also supports vendor and supplier purchases that support numerous local businesses and increase sales tax collections. The manufacturing sector is responsible for $50 billion per year of production output and $35 billion per year in exports.
"As a tangible example of this kind of impact, ExxonMobil announced the engineering, procurement and construction contract for this project has been awarded to Baton Rouge-based Turner Industries and Jacobs Engineering."
To secure the project, the state of Louisiana offered ExxonMobil a competitive incentive package that includes the comprehensive workforce solutions of LED FastStart, the state's workforce training program. The company also is expected to utilize the state's industrial tax exemption and enterprise zone programs.
"Growth in feedstock supply along with the increase in global demand for chemical products continues to drive our strategic investments and expansion along the Gulf Coast," ExxonMobil Chemical Co. President John Verity said. "We're well positioned to meet the demand for these high-performance products and investing further in Baton Rouge enhances our facility's competitiveness."
ExxonMobil's operations in Baton Rouge include a 502,000-barrel-per-day oil refinery, as well as chemical, lubricants and polyethylene plants. ExxonMobil has more than 2,500 employees in the Baton Rouge area.