Sasol Limited, an international integrated energy and chemical company, started construction on its $8.1 billion ethane cracker complex, with plans to create 500 direct jobs in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.
The world-scale petrochemical complex will include an ethane cracker and six chemical manufacturing plants, to be built near Sasol’s existing Westlake facilities. The project will roughly triple Sasol’s chemical production capacity in the United States. In addition to the $8.1 billion capital investment for the petrochemical complex, Sasol will spend $800 million for infrastructure improvement, land acquisition and utility improvement costs at the site.
“By the time construction is complete in 2018, Sasol’s investment will total almost $9 billion, making it one of the largest investments in our company’s history,” said Steve Cornell, Sasol’s executive vice president of international operations. “Along the way, we’ll create more than 5,000 construction jobs and more than 500 full-time positions, 100 of which have already been filled.”
Governor Bobby Jindal said, “With work getting underway for this historic project, we congratulate Sasol Ltd. for choosing Louisiana and committing to develop this $8.1 billion project. This industrial complex of an ethane cracker and six affiliated chemical plants is an important component of the remarkable economic success story that is Southwest Louisiana. Our hard work to create and sustain the nation’s best business climate and a first-class workforce led Sasol here, and the result will be hundreds of high-paying permanent jobs and thousands of quality construction jobs to benefit generations of Louisiana families.”
Louisiana’s role in cultivating the Sasol project began in early 2011, when LED’s Business Expansion and Retention Group, or BERG, joined the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance and the Port of Lake Charles to identify potential sites in Southwest Louisiana using GIS mapping technology. Ultimately, a 650-acre site near Sasol’s existing Westlake facilities was identified as optimum for the project’s needs.
To secure both the GTL and the ethane cracker projects, Louisiana offered Sasol a performance-based grant of $115 million for land acquisition and infrastructure costs associated with the facility. Sasol must develop the GTL project to receive that incentive. The company will receive the services of LED FastStart, the nation’s No. 1 state workforce training program for both projects.
In addition, the GTL project will qualify for Louisiana’s new Competitive Projects Payroll Incentive while the ethane cracker project will qualify for the Quality Jobs Program, with the payroll incentives applied for up to 10 years. To support Sasol’s workforce needs during construction and operations, the state is investing $20 million for a new training facility and associated equipment focused on industrial technology at SOWELA Technical Community College in Lake Charles. Governor Jindal broke ground on that SOWELA Sasol Regional Training Center with company and college officials in October 2014. Finally, Sasol is expected to utilize the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program for both the ethylene and GTL facilities.
“We are delighted to see this major project getting underway,” said David Conner, Vice President of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. “This demonstrates the commitment Sasol has made to our area. We are very appreciative of the support the state, Louisiana Economic Development and Sasol have given us, as we continue to work for a strong and vibrant regional economy.”