$1.2 billion fertilizer plant proposed in St. Charles

AM Agrigen LLC, a Delaware company formed in 2013, has an option on 650 acres in St. Charles Parish as the site of a proposed $1.2 billion fertilizer plant.

Feasibility studies on the project near Killona are underway, and the company expects to make a final investment decision in the first quarter of 2015, state and company officials said Monday. It will take about 30 months to build the facility.

The plant, if built, would create 150 new direct jobs with an average salary of $55,000 per year plus benefits. The Louisiana Economic Development Department estimates the project would generate 1,025 new indirect jobs.

AM Agrigen would make granulated urea for agribusiness customers in the U.S. and abroad.

The company has begun the process of filing for environmental permits needed to operate the proposed facility.

The location would give the facility access to the highest density of interstate and intrastate natural gas pipelines in the United States, as well as low, stable prices for natural gas, the key raw material in making nitrogen-based fertilizer, the company said.

“AM Agrigen’s commitment to our state demonstrates the strategic value of Louisiana’s world-scale industrial infrastructure and our emergence as one of the very best business climates in the U.S.,” Gov. Bobby Jindal said.

“We have been very pleased with the support we have received from the state of Louisiana — and from St. Charles Parish, GNO Inc. and the Port of South Louisiana,” AM Agrigen CEO Mark VandeVoorde said.

LED said it began working with AM Agrigen on the project in October 2012. To secure the project, Louisiana offered the company a performance-based $5.6 million grant to offset infrastructure costs of the project. AM Agrigen would receive help from the state’s LED FastStart workforce training program and is expected to use the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

“We are excited about the new opportunities presented by bringing a new type of industry to St. Charles Parish, including the addition of new jobs,” St. Charles Parish President V.J. St. Pierre said.

“Through our many months of working together, we have come to greatly respect AM Agrigen Industries and their leadership team,” GNO Inc. President and CEO Michael Hecht said. “Agrigen will be an outstanding addition to greater New Orleans, bringing jobs, investment and expertise to our region.”