LOCAL

Fruits of labor: The Dow Chemical Company announces $1.06 billion investment in expansion

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South
Governor Bobby Jindal speaks at The Dow Chemical Company's announcement of a $1.06 billion investment in a pair of new polyolefins plants on Aug. 27. 
COURTESY PHOTO/Scott Gleason

PLAQUEMINE - Governor Bobby Jindal and Dow Louisiana Operations Site Leader Eduardo Do Val announced recently The Dow Chemical Company will invest $1.06 billion in a pair of new polyolefins plants – one for producing next-generation synthetic rubber and another for high-performance polyethylene – and capital upgrades to its ethylene capacity at the company's 3,300-acre site in Plaquemine.

The project will retain 1,380 existing workers employed directly by Dow and create 71 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of more than $49,000 per year, plus benefits.

LED estimates the project will result in an additional 470 new indirect jobs, for a total of 541 new jobs. The Dow project will create 1,200 constructions jobs as well as 150 contractor jobs to support the new facilities.

"The Dow Louisiana operations here in Plaquemine were the very first investment by The Dow Chemical Company in our state 57 years ago, and we're continuing to see the fruits of billions of dollars in chemical manufacturing investments that are continuing to help drive our economy," Jindal said. "Since taking office in 2008, we've worked diligently to create the kind of business environment that encourages existing Louisiana companies like Dow to re-invest right here in our state, and today's expansion announcement is proof that our efforts are paying off."

The assets are included in Dow's U.S. Gulf Coast investment strategy. In December, the company restarted an ethane cracker in Hahnville that had been idle since early 2009. That project included more than 2,000 construction jobs and created or retained 80 jobs.

The latest investments in Plaquemine will boost Dow's production of ethylene, an essential building block for chemical products, while adding two new polyolefins production plants.

The new plants will increase the supply of chemicals for Dow's Performance Plastics unit, with applications in adhesives, sporting goods, diaper components, automotive interiors and exteriors, carpeting, home furnishings and personal care products that are part of a $450 billion global market.

Dow will begin construction on the ethylene efficiency project almost immediately with the building of the new polyolefins plants - one in Iberville Parish and one in West Baton Rouge Parish - to begin by the end of 2013.

"The great people of Dow Louisiana Operations deserve this win today," said Eduardo Do Val, Dow Louisiana Operations site director. "They have run this site safely and reliably for many years. With the support of our state and local government and the community in which we operate, we all get to celebrate this win today."

LED began discussing the Plaquemine expansion project with Dow in February 2013. To secure the project, Louisiana will provide Dow with a $2.84 million Modernization Tax Credit, to be claimed over five years.

"Dow has been a big, big leader here in the state of Louisiana, and we certainly welcome their decision to invest further in our state," said Iberville Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso. "I'm glad they decided they could be a low-cost producer in our state for their most valuable asset, which is their customer. Congratulations to Dow for choosing Louisiana, and good luck to them in the future."

Dow projects a completion date for the project near the end of 2016, with the bulk of the 71 new direct jobs being filled in 2015. With Louisiana operations in Plaquemine, Grand Bayou, Sterlington, Greensburg, Hahnville and Weeks Island, Dow supports 6,000 direct and contract jobs in Louisiana with a direct annual payroll of $312 million.

"Dow Louisiana Operations continues to be a leader in economic development in the state of Louisiana and the Capital Region," said Iberville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Hank Grace. "The Iberville Chamber of Commerce is proud to partner with Dow Louisiana Operations in bringing not only new capital investment to the area, but quality jobs for our people."