Canadian company Methanex Corp. is going forward with the relocation of a methanol production plant from Chile to a 225-acre site on La. 73 in Geismar.
The likely relocation to Geismar to take advantage of low natural gas prices was first announced by the company in January. The award of an engineering contract to Jacobs Engineering Group was reported in February.
A news conference to announce the formal decision to go forward with the relocation was held Wednesday by Gov. Bobby Jindal and Methanex Vice President of Corporate Development Gary Rowan, along with Ascension Parish officials.
The company said it will spend $550 million on the project, which will give the company its first U.S.-based methanol production facility in more than a decade. The new plant will create 130 new jobs, with an average salary of $56,250, plus benefits.
Methanex said it expects to break ground on the project in September and complete construction in late 2014. The project is expected to create about 1,500 construction jobs.
Methanex is a major supplier of methanol, which can be found in everything from windshield washer fluid to recyclable plastic bottles, plywood floors, paint, silicone sealants and synthetic fibers. Methanol, a clean-burning alternative fuel, also is increasingly used in the energy sector, including direct gasoline blending, dimethyl ether and biodiesel.
In addition to natural gas, ready supplies of hydrogen, oxygen and other industrial gases Methanex can use exist in Ascension Parish, along with easy access to barge, rail and interstate highway transportation, officials said.
To secure the project, Louisiana’s economic development department offered Methanex performance-based grants of $3.8 million to offset infrastructure costs related to the project and $1.5 million to reimburse relocation expenses. It also is receiving local incentives. In addition, Methanex will use LED FastStart — the state’s work force development program — and is expected to utilize the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption and Quality Jobs programs.
“Ascension Parish continues to be a fertile ground for economic development,” said Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez.