Through the early construction of its new polypropylene production unit, ExxonMobil has already invested some $130 million in Baton Rouge, spread among 21 local firms, company officials announced at a news conference this morning.
Two of those firms include Turner Industries and Jacobs Engineering, which were awarded a major engineering, procurement and construction contract for the project. The companies are using local workers to design and construct the new facility, which, once complete, will expand production capacity along the Gulf Coast by up to 450,000 tons per year.
“We are committed to hiring local suppliers and workers for the construction. We’re putting extra outreach in place to support that effort,” said ExxonMobil Chemicals Project Venture Executive Travis Fuller, adding the oil and gas giant has also expanded programming for the North Baton Rouge Industrial Training Initiative to assist in developing qualified workers.
As of November, construction work, which began in January, generated more than $1 million in local sales tax revenue from supplies and equipment purchases—an amount expected to reach $30 million upon completion of the project.
To prepare for project work, Exxon invested $500,000 to create turn lanes on Hwy. 61 and donated 300 yards of mulch from the construction area to BREC and Baton Rouge Green, representing more than $100,000 in supplies for the two nonprofits, as well as surplus office furniture to Habitat for Humanity.
Meanwhile, the Baton Rouge North Economic Development District, Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation and the ExxonMobil YMCA Community Outreach Retiree Alliance will lease rent-free office space in Exxon’s community center on Scenic Highway, utilizing the space for life skills training, career-ready youth programs and small-business assistance programs in north Baton Rouge, among other initiatives.
With 365 workers currently onsite, the project is expected to create up to 700 jobs during peak construction and 65 permanent jobs once completed. Startup is anticipated by 2021.