Construction begins on $1.85B St. James Parish methanol complex

China-based Yuhuang Chemical has begun construction on a $1.85 billion methanol manufacturing complex along the Mississippi River, near La. 3127, in St. James Parish.

Work on the complex began in January, with the company preparing and clearing the site, a statement from Yuhuang Chemical says. The construction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019, and the distribution of methanol primarily to Europe and China is set begin within the same period.

Yuhuang Chemical is one of 13 subsidiaries of Shandong Yuhuang Chemical Co. Ltd.

The St. James project, originally announced in 2014, is the first major direct investment in Louisiana by a Chinese firm and is expected to produce about 1,000 construction jobs and 100 permanent employees at the plant.

Once complete, the plant is expected to produced 1.8 million metric tons of methanol annually. The the Bank of China financed construction of the plant. Yuhuang completed the purchase of the St. James land in 2015.

Yuhuang Chemical was granted an incentive package from Louisiana Economic Development that includes two performance-based grants: a five-year incentive totaling $9.5 million beginning in 2017 to offset construction costs and another $1.75 million over 10 years to partially defray the costs of site development, including access to the Mississippi River. The company also will participate in LED’s FastStart workforce training program and use the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

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