Syngas Energy Holdings said it plans to build a $360 million methanol plant in St. James Parish, which would create 86 jobs.
The company said it still needs to secure permits and get final funding, but it anticipates starting work on the plant in the second quarter of 2016. Syngas will start hiring senior management in the first quarter of 2016 and the broad hiring of plant operators in the third quarter of 2017. The plant would be completed by the end of 2018.
Louisiana’s economic development department said the plant jobs will have an average salary of $78,600, plus benefits. Another 508 indirect jobs would be created, and, at its peak, the plant would have 800 construction jobs.
Houston-based Syngas said it plans to buy 130 acres from NuStar Energy about 10 miles south of the Sunshine Bridge for the plant in a deal expected to close before the end of the year. NuStar operates a crude oil terminal and logistics complex along the Mississippi River. The facility also has storage tanks for speciality liquids, such as methanol. Along with providing the space and storage, NuStar will offer rail and barge transportation services for Syngas.
The plant will produce 500,000 tons of methanol a year, and there are plans to boost capacity by another 200,000 tons in a later phase. Methanol is used as a chemical feedstock for a broad range of products, including plastics, paints, resins, adhesives, solvents and windshield wiper fluid.
Vas Kenyen, chief executive officer for Syngas, said the company selected St. James Parish for several reasons, including the good business climate, abundant supply of natural gas, pipeline network and the ability to ship methanol by waterways.
Louisiana Economic Development started working with Syngas in June 2013. The state offered a range of incentives for the project, including LED FastStart job training. Syngas is expected to use Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.