Port Allen — Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Exxon Mobil Corporation announced Thursday that the company will expand its existing Port Allen Lubricants Plant and Baton Rouge Chemical Plant.
The expansion will help the company increase capacity for synthetic lubricant base stocks manufacturing and lubricants blending, packaging and storage and will include a $215 million capital investment to expand operations, revive and modernize equipment and construct a state-of-the-art blending center for synthetic aviation oil in Port Allen.
The expansion will also create 45 direct jobs, with an average annual salary of $66,200, plus benefits. LED estimates the manufacturing project also will result in 389 new indirect jobs in the Baton Rouge area, while retaining 2,607 existing jobs associated with the ExxonMobil Chemical Plant and Lubricants Plant operations in the region.
“We’re proud that ExxonMobil chose to expand right here in our state because of our world class energy infrastructure, strong business climate, and incomparable workforce,” Jindal said. “This announcement shows our strong commitment to retaining and growing existing Louisiana businesses.”
ExxonMobil operations provide jobs for 5,500 direct employees and contractors at eight area facilities, making the company the largest private employer in East Baton Rouge Parish and the largest manufacturing employer in Louisiana.
“I am excited about the expansion,” said WBR Parish President Riley “Pee Wee” Berthelot. “We’re glad to see our plants in West Baton Rouge continue to grow, and it’s always exciting news when we see that take place.”
The project represents the culmination of nearly $1 billion in Louisiana capital investments by ExxonMobil over the past three years. The $215 million allocated for the new synthetic lubricants project will be invested in the Chemical Plant in Baton Rouge and in a new manufacturing, packaging and distribution process unit in Port Allen, where the ExxonMobil Lubricants Plant makes more than 145 lubricant products.
“The new aviation lubricants blending center reflects our continuing commitment to a safe and reliable supply of aviation and other lubricant products,” said Julius Bedford, manager of ExxonMobil’s lubricant blending plant in Port Allen.
Paul Stratford, manager of the Baton Rouge Chemical Plant, said that over the past three years, the corporation’s capital expenditures in the state exceeded $930 million.
“These investments help create jobs and contribute to the economic growth of the state and the region.”
To secure the project, the state began working with ExxonMobil on potential expansion opportunities in 2009. The state will provide a Modernization Tax Credit valued at $1.8 million and payable over five years, along with the customized workforce solutions of LED FastStart™ – the No. 1-rated state workforce training program in the nation.
Construction for the project will begin in late 2012, and hiring of the 45 new positions will take place in conjunction with project completion in 2014. The new jobs will join an existing annual payroll of $440 million supported by ExxonMobil in the Capital Region.
“I actually worked at Exxon coming out of school as my very first job coming out of college,” said Jindal during his speech Thursday afternoon. “My dad worked at Exxon back in the 1970s; my wife’s got an uncle who retired from Exxon, and the list goes on and on – that just shows you the tremendous impact that they have in our community.
“They have a great history, but an even brighter future in our state.”