Baton Rouge, LA (STL.News) – Friday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and Methanex executive Mark Allard announced the company will make a $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion capital investment to construct a third methanol plant in Geismar, Louisiana. The project will join two existing methanol plants in Geismar and represent a cumulative capital investment of more than $2.5 billion for methanol facilities in Ascension Parish, south of Baton Rouge.
Through the project, Methanex will create 62 new direct jobs, with an average annual salary of $80,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in another 301 new indirect jobs, for a total of 363 new jobs in Ascension Parish and the Capital Region.
“Methanex has found a good home in Louisiana, thanks to our talented workforce, our strong business climate, abundant natural gas supplies and the affordable cost of doing business here,” Gov. Edwards said. “The two production facilities that Methanex built in Ascension Parish in recent years have been successful for the company and have had a very positive impact on the state and local economies. We welcome the company’s third production plant in Geismar, where our advanced infrastructure has proven time and again to be a competitive advantage for Louisiana.”
Combined, the three Methanex plants in Geismar will represent one of the largest methanol complexes in the world. The Geismar complex will grow to 230 total direct jobs, with the facilities supporting another 1,500 indirect jobs in the Capital Region. During the building phase, the new methanol project will generate more than 1,000 construction jobs.
Methanex’s latest Louisiana project will leverage the most advanced production technology to generate up to 1.8 million metric tons of methanol per year.
“Louisiana is a very attractive location for methanol production and the state’s investment attraction programs provide an excellent backdrop for this additional investment,” said Allard, Methanex vice president for North America. “As the global leader in the methanol industry, we evaluate growth opportunities around the world, and we are pleased that Ascension Parish will become home to our largest production site globally, with production capability of approximately 4 million metric tons per year.”
Methanex will build the third Geismar plant on a 156-acre LED Certified Site, a location that has undergone extensive due-diligence preparation to be development-ready. Louisiana ranks No. 2 in the U.S. for having the most state-sponsored certified sites. The new project by Methanex is known as G3, signaling the company’s third methanol plant in Geismar.
“The Ascension advantage is a business-friendly environment with a highly skilled workforce and availability of quality sites,” said Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa. “This is proven by Methanex selecting the Waterloo LED Certified Site for the location of their G3 project.”
Methanex considered other locations in North America before selecting the Louisiana location. Earlier this decade, Methanex reassembled two methanol plants in Geismar with components from methanol units that were decommissioned in Chile and shipped to Ascension Parish. Methanol production began in Geismar in 2015.
“Ascension Parish is a leader for world-class chemical manufacturing and is extremely proud of Methanex’s decision to expand their operations here,” said President and CEO Kate MacArthur of Ascension Economic Development Corp. “Methanex is the leading producer of methanol across the globe, and we value their commitment to job creation, ongoing investments, and involvement in our business community.”
LED began formal discussions with Methanex about the potential third methanol plant in June 2018. To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered Methanex a $3 million performance-based grant to offset infrastructure costs of the project. In addition, Methanex is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Industrial Tax Exemption and Quality Jobs programs.
“The Baton Rouge area continues to be an economic engine for the state, driven in large part by this new wave of industrial manufacturing investment and expansions of corporate assets like Methanex that recognize the region’s unique advantages for growth,” said President and CEO Adam Knapp of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. “Our team at BRAC was pleased to work closely with AEDC, other partners in Ascension Parish, and LED to ensure that this project’s value to the community was understood and supported.”
Methanex is the world’s largest supplier of methanol – a clear, biodegradable ingredient found in everything from windshield washer fluid to recyclable plastic bottles, plywood floors, paint silicone sealants and synthetic fibers. Also a clean-burning fuel, methanol is increasingly used in the energy sector for blending in gasoline and other fuels.
In Louisiana, Methanex anticipates beginning construction of the third Geismar methanol plant in the second half of 2019, with operations beginning in the second half of 2022.