- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

GEISMAR, La. (AP) - Shell Chemical LP is starting a $717 million expansion at its plant in Geismar.

The plant will be the fourth at a complex where 650 people already work.

Shell officials and Gov. John Bel Edwards say it will create 1,500 construction jobs and 20 permanent jobs when it opens in 2018. Salaries for the new permanent jobs are expected to average $104,000 a year.

At a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, officials said the new plant will make the 800-acre complex the world’s largest producer of a group of chemicals used to make a variety of consumer and industrial products, including packaging plastics, synthetic lubricants, drilling fluids and household detergents.

Officials say the plants will bring total production capacity to 425,000 tons of alpha olefins a year.

A news release says Shell will use Louisiana’s workforce development program and is expected to use its enterprise zone and industrial tax exemptions.

The industrial tax exemption covers 10 years of local property taxes on the new plant. The enterprise zone program provides a $2,500 job tax credit for each new job and either a 4 percent sales tax rebate or a 1.5 percent investment tax credit.

Company officials at the ceremony included Shell Americas vice president of manufacturing Aamir Farid; Shell Chemical general manager of higher olefins/derivatives Rutger Beelaerts; and Shell Geismar general manager Rhoman Hardy. State economic development Secretary Don Pierson, U.S. Rep. Garret Graves and Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa also participated.

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