Chemical company considering La. for $3 billion plant

Axiall Corp., which has manufacturing complexes in Plaquemine and Lake Charles, is considering building a $3 billion ethane cracker and ethylene derivatives plant somewhere in Louisiana, a facility that would create up to 250 new jobs.

The company, which was formed earlier this year when Georgia Gulf merged with PPG’s commodity chemicals business, plans on awarding a front-end engineering and design contract for the Louisiana plant in early 2014.

The company is evaluating potential partners for both the ethane cracker and derivatives plant. Axiall will invest about $1 billion in the project and the partner would put up the rest of the capital. The permitting process for the plant is also underway in Louisiana.

Along with the new direct jobs, the Louisiana Economic Development department said the Axiall plant would create 2,200 indirect jobs and support 2,000 to 3,000 construction jobs. It would take four to five years to develop the cracker and derivatives plant.

If the project is approved, commercial operations could begin by 2018.

Axiall operates a chloralkali plant in Plaquemine and two facilities in Lake Charles. The ethane cracker breaks natural gas into smaller molecules to make ethylene, which is used in making plastic. Ethylene derivatives include polyvinyl chloride, ethylene glycol, a raw material used in the production of polyester fibers, and polyethylene, a common plastic.

“We are excited about the prospect of expanding our footprint in the state and continuing to invest in Louisiana and its talented workforce,” said Paul Carrico, president and CEO of Axiall.

LED officials said they began talking with Axiall in February about the expansion. The state has offered a competitive, performance-based incentive package to lure Axiall. Axiall, which is headquartered in Atlanta, saw its stock price drop slightly Thursday, falling $1.39, or 2.9 percent, to $46.06 a share.