Baton Rouge is in the running for a major expansion by ExxonMobil, which announced this morning the start of detailed engineering work on a potential U.S. Gulf Coast project to expand its polypropylene manufacturing capacity by up to 450,000 tons a year.
Polypropylene is a petroleum product used to make high-performance, lightweight durable plastics for automotive, appliance and packaging applications.
Though ExxonMobil did not specifically mention Baton Rouge by name in a statement, ExxonMobil executive Charles Dabadie said Monday following an ITEP committee meeting at City Hall that Baton Rouge is under consideration for a major new expansion project that would bring new technology, investment and jobs to the local refinery.
“It’s new technology …. a big project, 152 feet tall out of the ground,” said Dabadie, ExxonMobil’s regional manufacturing manager for the Americas. “We want it to come here.”
The facility would be the largest investment in ExxonMobil’s five-plant Baton Rouge complex in more than a decade and would create more than 600 construction jobs and 60 permanent jobs.
The cost of the investment, though less than $1 billion, would be “several hundred million dollars,” according to the statement.
A final decision by the company is expected later this year and facility startup could come as soon as 2021.
The project is part of an aggressive growth strategy ExxonMobil announced earlier this month at a meeting with analysts, in which it said it expects to grow chemical manufacturing capacity in North America and the Asia Pacific by 40% over the next few years.