$100 million natural gas-to-liquids plant planned

A $100 million plant that will convert natural gas into liquid chemicals and transportation fuels is set to break ground in Westlake later this month.

The plant, a joint venture between SGC Energia SA of Portugal and Houston-based Great Northern Project Development LP, is expected to create 29 new direct jobs, with an average annual salary of $85,000 plus benefits, according to figures from the Louisiana economic development department. The Juniper gas-to-liquid facility is also expected to create 112 indirect jobs. The southwest Louisiana plant, set to open in early 2015, is also expected to create 125 construction jobs.

The Juniper project will produce 1,100 barrels per day of clean chemicals such as waxes, drilling fluids and naptha, a feedstock for high-octane gasoline and a solvent, along with diesel. It is a forerunner of smaller commercial GTL plants. Two GTL plants are in the works for Lake Charles: a $16 billion to $21 billion facility Sasol plans to build that will be the largest manufacturing investment in Louisiana history and the $1.3 billion facility G2X Energy announced earlier this year that will yield gasoline. Companies are looking at setting up gas-to-liquid plants in southwest Louisiana because of the easy access to cheap natural gas.

The Juniper GTL is the first commercial gas-to-liquid facility to begin construction in the U.S.

LED began discussing the GTL project with SGC Energia in January. The state offered an incentives package that includes the services of LED FastStart workforce training program. SGC Energia is expected to use the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.