Company: 63 new jobs to average $66K/year

Associated Press

VACHERIE, La. (AP) -- Companies from Texas and New Zealand plan a $1.3 billion methanol plant in the St. James Parish town of Vacherie, Gov. Bobby Jindal said Thursday. The owners say it will be the largest methanol plant in the United States.

Methanol is used to produce everyday goods such as plastics, polyester fibers and fabrics, pesticides, fuel additives, pharmaceuticals and adhesives for the wood products industry. It is generally made from methane, a component of natural gas.

South Louisiana Methanol LP, owned by Todd Corp. of Wellington, New Zealand, and Zero Emission Energy Plant Ltd. — or ZEEP — of Austin, Texas, expects to have 63 employees earning an average of $66,500 a year, Jindal said.

Louisiana is offering a performance-based $5 million grant for infrastructure costs and South Louisiana Methanol is expected to get tax exemptions for industry and job creation, Louisiana Economic Development said.

"Louisiana offers a high-quality energy workforce, access to abundant natural gas, and a strong network of pipelines and transportation facilities, which makes it an ideal partner for the production and distribution of methanol," said Barry Williamson, CEO of South Louisiana Methanol.

High inventories and low prices for natural gas played a big part in the company's decision to open in Louisiana, Jindal said.

South Louisiana Methanol will be in the Port of South Louisiana district, with access to interstate and intrastate natural gas and carbon dioxide pipelines. The South Louisiana Methanol site is across the Mississippi River from a Nucor Corp. steel plant under construction in Convent.