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Companies Plan $1.5 Billion Investment at Norco, Louisiana Plant

Two companies plan a joint $1.5 billion investment at two facilities in Norco, Louisiana.

Valero Energy Corp. subsidiary Diamond Alternative Energy and partner Darling Ingredients Inc. will make a combined $1.1 billion investment to expand their joint-venture Diamond Green Diesel refinery. In a separate Norco project, Valero will invest $400 million in the alkylation unit at the Valero St. Charles Refinery.

Diamond Alternative Energy and Darling Ingredients will split investment costs in the Diamond Green Diesel refinery expansion. The refinery expansion will increase the site’s diesel production capacity by 400 million gallons a year; when completed, the site will produce more than 675 million gallons annually.

“Valero is pleased to move forward in our partnership with Darling Ingredients with the expansion of the Diamond Green Diesel facility in Norco,” said Martin Parrish, Valero Senior Vice President of Alternative Fuels. “This facility’s strategic location, adjacent to the Valero St. Charles Refinery in Norco, makes it optimal for the joint venture. The facility, already the largest renewable diesel plant in North America, will become the second-largest in the world once the expansion is complete. This project is very important to our company, and we certainly appreciate all the support and partnerships we have in Louisiana.”

The nearby investment at the Valero St. Charles Refinery will expand the alkylation unit, increasing its capacity to convert isobutane and low-modular-weight alkenes into alkylate, a high-octane gasoline component. The expansion will include new pipes, feed driers, an olefin feeder, accumulator and more.

“With a program like the Industrial Tax Exemption Program, Louisiana has made itself an attractive place to do business,” said Jerry Stumbo, Vice President and General Manager of the Valero St. Charles Refinery. “Our partnerships with the State of Louisiana and St. Charles Parish have allowed us to invest more than $5 billion in the St. Charles refinery since Valero acquired it in 2003. We have a sincere appreciation of St. Charles Parish, particularly the Economic Development Department, for working with us throughout the ITEP process and for being supportive of the investment Valero has brought to the parish. Partnerships with our local community are a very important part of our business. The Diamond Green Diesel and Alky C5 investments will not only help boost the local economy, but they will also create job opportunities.”

The Valero St. Charles Refinery is located on approximately 1,000 acres in St. Charles Parish along the Mississippi River, and features strategic access to feedstock and product transportation corridors and pipelines. Construction of the original refinery, by Orion, began in 1980. The alkylation facility was built in 2000. Valero acquired Orion in 2003, and since that time, Valero has invested over $5 billion in the St. Charles Parish site, making it one of the company’s more complex facilities.

To secure the expansion projects in the state, Louisiana offered Diamond Green Diesel a competitive incentive package that includes the services of LED FastStart, the state’s workforce training program in the nation.

The company also plans to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs. For the alkylation project, Valero is expected to utilize the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program. The Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry met on April 24 and approved the respective ITEP applications for Valero’s project and the Diamond Green Diesel project.

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