Study: Chemical industry to bring thousands of jobs to LA
Shana Rose Reporting
Abundant supplies of shale gas have transformed America's chemical industry from the world's high-cost producer five years ago to among the world's lowest-cost producers today, and the economic benefits of that are outlined in the study "Shale Gas, Competitiveness, and New U.S. Chemical Industry Investment - An Analysis of Announced Projects," which examined 97 announced chemical and plastics projects by the American Chemical Council.
And that translates to a lot of jobs and billions of investment dollars for Louisiana says Kevin Swift chief economist with the American Chemical Council.
Not only does the chemical industry need a lot of energy to make their products, oil and gas is also a material in making many of those products, and low energy costs in the U.S. mean a lot of that industry is coming to our shores.
"Between now and 2020 at least $72 billion will be invested by the U.S. chemical industry in building and expanding facilities here in the United States," says Swift and Louisiana is set to get "roughly 25% of that."
That's an estimated 11,000 direct jobs and another 11,000 indirect jobs per year for the state as the chemical industry builds out according to their national study, which hasn't formally broken out Louisiana numbers yet.
And that's also going to lead to "Probably another additional $100 billion of indirect economic output in other sectors of the economy."
The chemical industry wants to be close to the refiners and natural gas supplies in Louisiana. Swift says it's possible, soon, that the U.S. may become the low cost venue to produce petro chemicals, even over Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.
Some of the announced projects in Louisiana, according to the ACC:
- ammonia and urea/UAN solutions at Donaldsonville, LA
- expanding an ethylene cracker at Hahnville, LA
- restarting an ethylene cracker at St. Charles, LA
- revamping an ethylene cracker at Plaquemine, LA
- new ammonia plant at Waggaman, LA
- an ethylene cracker, propylene plant and chlor-alkali unit at Point Comfort, LA
- relocating methanol plant from Chile to Geismar, LA
- new ethylene cracker and HDPE/LLDPE plant at Lake Charles, LA