Geismar plant breaks ground

Brandie Richardson @B_Lifestyles
L to R: Lester Barback, Turner Industries Executive Vice President/General Manager; Dennis Helliwell, Jacobs Engineering Vice President Projects; Garrett Graves, U.S. Congressman, Louisiana (District 6); Kenny Matassa, Ascension Parish President; Rutger Beelaerts, Shell Chemical General Manager Higher Olefins/Derivatives; Aamir Farid, Shell Vice President Manufacturing, Americas; Rhoman Hardy, Shell Geismar Site General Manager; Donald Pierson, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Economic Development.

    GEISMAR - On Feb. 16 state and local officials gathered at Ashland-Belle Helene historic home in Geismar for a formal groundbreaking ceremony for the new Shell Chemical LP plant. The plant is slated to become the largest Alpha Olefins (AO) producer in the world. 

     The new $717 million manufacturing plant will be used in the production of polyethylene plastic for packaging bottles, as well as synthetic lubricants, drilling fluids and household detergents. Shell will construct a fourth AO unit, adding 425 kilotons per year on the 800-acre site. 

     “Ascension Parish is at the intersection of sustained economic development and the highest quality of life for Louisiana families,” said Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa. “We are proud that Shell Chemical continues to invest in Ascension Parish, and we look forward to many more years of fruitful collaboration.”

     The Shell project will retain 650 existing jobs at the Geismar location and create 20 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $104,000, plus benefits, and 93 new indirect jobs. During peak building, 1,500 construction jobs are expected to be generated from the project.

     “We are proud of Louisiana’s status as one of the world’s great markets for the petrochemical industry,” Governor John Bel Edwards said. “Shell Chemical is one of our most important economic driver companies, and we salute them for recognizing Louisiana as the most competitive location for expanding their production with this next-generation investment. We look forward to continued success for Shell Chemical and for the many hard-working Louisiana employees who contribute to that success. Their families will benefit, as will Ascension Parish and surrounding communities. This is a great win for our state.”

     Operation of the plant is expected in early 2018.