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April 24, 2018

Taiwan’s Formosa advances $9.4-billion Louisiana petchem project

Formosa Petrochemical Corp. (FPC), a member of Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group, is moving forward with its previously announced plan to build a $9.4-billion ethane cracking and petrochemical complex along on the west bank of the Mississippi River in St. James Parish, La. (OGJ Online, Sept. 4, 2015).

If approved, the complex would be built in two phases over a 10-year period along a 2,400-acre site FPC has purchased just downriver from the Sunshine Bridge and would produce ethylene, propylene, ethylene glycol, and associated polymers, Louisiana Economic Development

(LED) said.
Branded as its Sunshine Project, FPC plans to operate the proposed complex under its Louisiana-based subsidiary FG LA LLC, LED said.

Pending completion and approval of permits for the site, FG LA could begin construction as soon as 2019.

To secure the project, Louisiana has offered FPC a competitive incentive package to offset infrastructure costs that includes a $12-million performance-based grant to be paid in four equal $3-million annual installments beginning in 2021, the projected first year for hiring permanent jobs.

FG LA also would receive the services of the LED FastStart state workforce development program, as well as access to Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs, LED said.

To be developed within the Port of South Louisiana District—which spans 54 miles between Baton Rouge and New Orleans and falls within the 10-parish economic development region of Greater New Orleans Inc.—the Sunshine Project would create 1,200 direct jobs averaging $84,500/year, plus benefits, and result in 8,000 indirect jobs, for a total of more than 9,000 jobs in the River Parishes and surrounding regions of Louisiana, LED estimates.

According to an economic impact study completed by economist James Richardson at Louisiana State University, the 10-year FG LA construction period will yield $362 million in new state and local tax receipts, with an additional yield of $313 million in new state and local taxes during the initial 10 years of operation beginning in 2025.

Through 2035, combining both periods, the project would yield $4.7 billion in personal earnings and $18.5 billion in new business transactions, Richardson estimates.

While timelines for obtaining permit approvals and reaching a final investment decision for the project have yet to be revealed, FG LA is committed to keeping the community updated and informed at each future stage of the project, said Keh-Yen Lin, FG LA chief executive officer and FPC executive vice-president.

FPC previously confirmed Phase 1 of the project would involve construction of an ethylene cracker and associated plants followed by a doubling of those installations in Phase 2.

Details regarding planned production capacities at the complex, however, were not disclosed.

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