ExxonMobil to add 45 jobs
ExxonMobil said Thursday it will invest $215 million to expand its chemical and lubricants plants in Baton Rouge and Port Allen, a move that will add 45 new jobs.
The investment will allow the facilities to produce synthetic lubricants used in aircraft engines. The base stocks will be manufactured in Baton Rouge, while the chemicals will be blended, packaged and stored in Port Allen.
The new facilities will replace an ExxonMobil aviation lubricants plant in Edison, N.J., which will shut down once production begins locally, the company said.
The new jobs will have an average annual salary of $66,200, plus benefits, according to Louisiana economic development department officials. LED estimates the expansion will lead to 389 indirect jobs in the capital region.
Construction on the expansion will begin late this year. The work will create about 400 construction jobs. Production is set to begin in 2014.
The capital expenditures and new jobs will be split about 70-30, with the bulk going to the Baton Rouge chemical plant and the smaller share being invested in the Port Allen lubricant blending plant, said Julius Bedford, manager of the Port Allen facility.
Bedford said ExxonMobil decided to move the operations from New Jersey and invest in the capital region because of the integration between the chemical plant, refinery and blending plant.
“The integration of these facilities makes this one of the largest petrochemical plants in the world,” he said. “Plus, there’s a strong workforce that will enable us to capably meet growth projections.”
ExxonMobil provides jobs for 5,500 direct employees and contractors at its eight area facilities, making it the largest private employer in East Baton Rouge Parish and largest manufacturing employer in the state. More than 2,600 people work at the chemical and lubricants plants. The company has a $440 million payroll in the capital region.
Paul Stratford, manager of the Baton Rouge Chemical Plant, said in a statement that ExxonMobil’s capital expenditures statewide have exceeded $930 million in the past three years. “This expansion will further cement the company’s strong fabric in the community,” Bedford said. “This will enhance and increase our manufacturing capacity.”
Once the expansion is completed, the company said the Baton Rouge chemical plant will become the world’s largest producer of synthetic esters and alkylated naphthalene. These products are used to make a variety of lubricants, from gear oils and greases to specialized lubricants used by the aviation and marine industry.
ExxonMobil has been working with LED on the expansion since 2009. The state will provide a Modernization Tax Credit valued at $1.8 million and payable over five years, along with FastStart, the state’s job training program. ExxonMobil is expected to tap other state incentives, including the Enterprise Zone and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
In a statement, Gov. Bobby Jindal praised ExxonMobil’s decision to expand locally, saying it was based on Louisiana’s “world-class energy infrastructure, strong business climate, and incomparable work force.”
Adam Knapp, president and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, congratulated ExxonMobil on its commitment to job growth and new investment.
“ExxonMobil is a great corporate citizen and continues to be an economic asset, over 100 years after first coming to our region,” Knapp said in a statement.