ExxonMobil chose Baton Rouge last March as the site of its long-discussed new polypropylene production unit worth an estimated $500 million to $1 billion, and since then has invested some $130 million in the city, spread among 21 local companies including Turner Industries and Jacobs Engineering. Elsewhere, Shintech’s previously announced $1.49 billion expansion of its PVC facility will generate 120 new permanent jobs; Methanex is constructing a $1.4 billion, third methanol unit that will employ 25 people; and Shell Chemical is expected to pull the trigger on a $1.2 billion mono-ethylene glycol unit in the first half of 2020. Added to these projects is the announced $9.4 billion Formosa Plastics plant to be built a bit farther down the Mississippi River in St. James Parish, although it has yet to break ground.
Add it up and the oil and gas and petrochemical sectors remain critical drivers of the Capital Region economy. The ongoing growth will be especially helpful to the area’s construction sector, which experienced a lull in 2019. Just one project, like the Formosa plant, can employ more than 9,000 workers, according to David Helveston, president and CEO of ABC Pelican.