Dow to invest over $1 billion in Louisiana operations

08 28, 2013 by The Times-Picayune

Gov. Bobby Jindal and Dow Chemical Company announced on Tuesday the Michigan-based chemical giant will invest $1.06 billion to build two new plants in Iberville and West Baton Rouge Parishes, while also undertaking capital improvements at their integrated manufacturing facility in Plaquemine. Dow first announced its plans to expand performance plastics facilities in March, but hadn't announced what locations would be impacted.

Also on Tuesday, Dow announced similar expansion projects at its complex in Freeport, Texas. The related projects are all part of the company's $4 billion U.S. Gulf Coast investment plan to expand its operations in the region while taking advantage of increasing supplies of shale gas from the Marcellus play in the Appalachian Basin and Eagle Ford play in south Texas.

"Our history on the U.S. Gulf Coast reaches back more than 70 years, and we’re proud to continue our commitment to this important region with these strategic and accretive investments," said Jim Fitterling, Executive Vice President for Dow.

The Louisiana projects will create 71 new permanent jobs at the plants and 1,200 temporary construction jobs, according to a press release from the governor's office. The new jobs will offer annual average salaries of over $49,000 plus benefits. Development officials estimates the Louisiana projects will create 470 indirect jobs and 150 contractor jobs to support the new facilities.

To secure the expansion projects in Louisiana, the state will provide Dow with a $2.84 million Modernization Tax Credit and access to its LED FastStart workforce training program and Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

The two new plants will increase Dow's capacity to produce ethylene, which is used in the production of various chemicals. The improvements at the company's Plaquemine facility will increase the supply of ethylene, a chemical building block involved in the process to make plastics.

The latter projects will begin almost immediately. Construction at the two new plants will begin at the end of 2013.

Dow Chemical Company is the largest employer in Iberville and West Baton Rouge Parishes, where the new plants will be built, employing more than 3,000 full-time and contract workers.

Dow's Louisiana Operations boast 23 production units around the state with locations in Plaquemine, Grand Bayou, Hahnville, Sterlington, Greensburg and Weeks Island.