The North American operations of Saint-Gobain of Paris has announced it will construct a new $100 million, 100,000-sq.-ft. ceramic proppants production facility in Bauxite, Arkansas. The project will add up to 140 jobs to the company's existing 400-person workforce in that state.Headquartered in Paris, Saint-Gobain is one of the world's largest industrial companies and posted 2010 sales of $53.2 billion. Its North American headquarters is in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.The Saline County plant's groundbreaking will be held later this year, and products should be coming off the production line by year-end 2012.
Saint-Gobain's Proppants division already operates two manufacturing facilities in Arkansas. One is a proppants manufacturing facility in Fort Smith. It was the world's first ceramic production plant, and recently completed a $15 million expansion. Its other proppants facility is in Saline County; its supplies materials used in the proppant manufacturing process. Proppants are inserted into underground fractures in oil and gas wells to "prop" open the fracture and increase productivity of the wells.
"This investment is part of Saint-Gobain's global strategy to invest in new technologies for energy and the environment," says John Crowe, President/ CEO of Saint-Gobain Corporation (the firm's North American holding company). "The increasing global demand for affordable energy is creating greater activity among oil and gas drilling companies whose need for proppants will exceed our ability to supply them from Fort Smith alone. Saline County is the perfect location because of its proximity to many of our major oil and gas customers, and because it allows us to access Arkansas' highly skilled workforce."
He added that the new site gives the firm "ample room" for future expansion, if needed.
Saline County Judge Lanny Fite thanked the Governor's Office, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and the Saline County Economic Development Corporation for work that went into bringing this "world-class project" to the area. "Saint-Gobain is already a great local corporate citizen and we look forward to the company's continued presence in Saline County for many years."