Last week Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards presided at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for $2 billion in new chemical manufacturing investments by The Dow Chemical Co.
In doing so he pointed out how important the company is to the local economy. "Dow’s operations pump more than $1 billion into the state’s economy each year through payrolls, taxes, business purchases and community contributions,” Edwards said.
Dow’s new expansions, located in Iberville and West Baton Rouge parishes, include construction of two new polyolefin plants designed to produce next-generation synthetic rubber and high-performance polyethylene, along with 1 million square feet of warehousing.
The investment also includes boosting Dow’s ethylene capacity; a new command center for the company’s hydrocarbons operations; and the restart of an existing ethylene unit in St. Charles Parish.
Launched in 1956 with the purchase of four large tracts in Iberville and West Baton Rouge parishes, Dow’s operations in Louisiana now employs more than 6,000 Dow and contract employees who produce over 100 basic and specialty chemicals shipped worldwide from six Louisiana locations.
“The investments we’re celebrating today will be a tremendous part of Dow’s future, and integral to our strategy by expanding our family of high-performance polymers for flexible packaging that our customers are demanding,” said Jim Fitterling, COO of the Materials Science Division for DowDuPont.
Dow’s operations in Louisiana produce the building blocks for plastics, soaps, detergents, cosmetics, shampoos, pharmaceuticals and other goods. Company officials tied the Louisiana expansion to historical growth in natural gas production from shale gas reserves, with major increases in U.S. natural gas supplies over the past 15 years.
In addition to securing more than 2,500 direct Dow and contractor jobs at the Plaquemine-area operations, the $2 billion in capital investment projects created over 1,200 construction jobs during the past four years.