NORCO, La. — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards highlighted the announcement of $1.5 billion in new capital 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.
Details were shared in a press release from Louisiana Economic Development.
In the renewable diesel project, Diamond Green Diesel will retain 49 jobs while creating 50 new direct jobs with an average salary of $130,000, plus benefits. In the alkylation project, Valero will retain 547 jobs while creating four new jobs with an average annual salary of $130,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the combined projects will result in 72 new indirect jobs, for a total of 126 new jobs in St. Charles Parish and Louisiana’s Southeast Region. Additionally, the Diamond Green Diesel project will generate 55 permanent new contractor jobs, and the alkylation project will generate five permanent new contractor jobs.
“Our state features an unmatched pipeline infrastructure and an outstanding workforce skilled in operating refineries, such as the Diamond Green Diesel and Valero facilities,” Gov. Edwards said. “These new investments from Valero and Darling Ingredients in Norco are a testament to the confidence they place in the state and our people. Each company is reaffirming its commitment to our state, as well as embracing a lower carbon footprint that will produce benefits well beyond Louisiana’s borders.”
Diamond Alternative Energy and Darling Ingredients will split investment costs in the Diamond Green Diesel refinery expansion. Darling Ingredients is a global developer and producer of sustainable natural ingredients from edible and inedible bionutrients, such as animal fats, used cooking oil and inedible corn oil. TThe 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 renewable diesel is compatible with petroleum-based diesel fuel and can be shipped by pipeline. Additionally, the fuel has a carbon lifecycle low enough to meet the most stringent low-carbon fuel standards.
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.
“I am extremely thankful to Valero and Darling for choosing St. Charles Parish for such important investments,” said St. Charles Parish president Larry Cochran. “These market-leading projects will provide high-paying jobs to local residents and millions of dollars’ worth of procurement opportunities for our small businesses, while elevating our economic development stature. I’d also like to thank Governor Edwards for providing us the ability to endorse the ITEP applications of one of our best and most generous industry partners.”
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 No. 1 state 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.
“We commend Diamond Alternative Energy and Valero Energy Corporation for investing a combined $1.5 billion to expand in St. Charles Parish,” said president and CEO Michael Hecht of Greater New Orleans Inc. “The River Region continues to be a major driver of economic development for Greater New Orleans, providing opportunities for us to turbocharge the Mississippi River and provide good-paying jobs for the people of this region.”
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