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Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Chemical Eyes Geismar, Louisiana, Methyl Methacrylate Plant

12/14/2020
Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. is studying the feasibility of building a more than $1 billion methyl methacrylate manufacturing complex in Geismar, Louisiana. A final investment decision by MCC on the greenfield project is expected by mid-2022, state economic development officials said.

According to Louisiana Economic Development, MCC would develop the world’s largest and most modern MMA complex, with an estimated production capacity of 350,000 tons per year. The company would build on a 67-acre greenfield site it has acquired from synthetic rubber manufacturer Lion Elastomers. With a final investment decision, MCC would begin construction activities leading to initial operations as soon as 2025.

“The Geismar project would be the third and largest commercial application of MCC’s proprietary Alpha technology, which was first deployed in 2008,” said Hitoshi Sasaki, who is COO for MCC’s global methyl methacrylate business. “This technology and plant design are perfectly matched for the shale gas-based feedstock slate in the United States, and strengthens our global leadership in the MMA merchant market. We look forward to partnering with the State of Louisiana and the people of Ascension Parish.”

“Geismar is one of the most advanced chemical manufacturing communities in the world,” Governor John Bel Edwards said. “As we continue to enhance our world-class infrastructure in Louisiana, we are attracting world-scale production facilities like the one proposed by Mitsubishi Chemical. We look forward to working with MCC to attract this permanent investment and the accompanying quality jobs to our state.”

LED began discussions with the company about a potential MMA plant in 2016. To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered MCC a competitive incentive package that includes the comprehensive workforce solutions of the nation’s No. 1 state workforce program, LED FastStart®, and a $4 million performance-based grant to offset infrastructure costs, payable in two equal installments in 2024 and 2025 as capital expenditures are certified. In addition, MCC is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

“The Capital Region, and particularly Ascension Parish, continue to be a magnet for petrochemical investment,” said President and CEO Adam Knapp of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. “The economic impact of a more than $1 billion direct capital investment and the creation of 125 jobs cannot be overstated. This project would have a multiplier impact on our region and would be the largest MMA plant in the world. BRAC and our partners in Ascension Parish look forward to supporting Mitsubishi Chemical and welcoming their team to the Baton Rouge area.”

Methyl methacrylate, or MMA, is a vital building block for acrylic-based polymers. MMA may be found in paints, adhesives, glazes, lighting displays, building panels, bath fixtures, flat-screen monitors, clear acrylic barriers in retail and manufacturing environments for virus protection, and several other products for which it contributes strength, durability, transparency and resistance to scratches and abrasions.

“As the world’s largest producer of MMA and a leader in technology, Mitsubishi Chemical will be right at home in Ascension Parish,” said President and CEO Kate MacArthur of the Ascension Economic Development Corporation. “By connecting our strategic location with our world-class workforce, we look forward to helping make the final location decision an easy one."

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