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Shell announces $717 million expansion in Geismar

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Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 08.55.47ADVOCATE STAFF REPORT: Nov. 30, 2015

Shell Chemical LP said Monday it will invest $717 million in a new linear alpha olefins manufacturing unit at the company’s Ascension Parish complex.

The project will create 20 new jobs with an average salary of $104,000, according to Shell. The company already employs 650 people at its Geismar campus. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will also generate 93 indirect jobs. Shell estimates the project will also require 1,000 construction jobs at peak building activity.

Alpha olefins are chemicals used to produce a variety of consumer and industrial products including stronger and lighter plastics for packaging and bottles, as well as engine and industrial oils and drilling fluids.

Shell has three alpha olefins units on its 800-acre Geismar site, located on the east bank of the Mississippi River. The new unit will produce around 468,000 tons of alpha olefins a year. The new unit’s production will lift Shell Geismar’s total capacity to more than 1.4 million tons, making Shell Geismar the largest alpha olefins production site in the world.

Construction is scheduled to begin the first quarter of 2016. Shell expects the new unit to begin operations in 2018.

“This important investment demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the growth potential in chemicals,” Graham van’t Hoff, executive vice president for Royal Dutch Shell plc’s global Chemicals business, said in a news release.

Shell Geismar General Manager Rhoman Hardy said the expansion is great news for Shell Geismar and the region.

“Shell remains a vital economic engine in this region, and a good corporate neighbor for years to come,” Hardy said in a news release.

The new alpha olefins unit is the latest megaproject to land in Ascension Parish.

There have been so many plants and developments built that parish officials have warned the east bank of the river is running out of space for large industrial projects.

Louisiana Economic Development and Shell began discussing the project in November 2013. Shell is expected to utilize the state’s Enterprise Zone and Industrial Tax Exemption programs, which offer tax.

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