An expansion at the BASF chemical plant in Geismar now allows the facility to produce chemicals used for petrochemical processing, solvents, plastics, textiles, personal care products, pharmaceuticals and computer circuits and chips.

The $51.3 million project allows the company to produce methylamines, a source of key chemical building blocks based on methanol and ammonia feedstocks.

The project will create 11 new jobs, the Louisiana Department of Economic Development reported.

In all, BASF’s Geismar site employs about 1,400 people — 780 BASF employees and about 620 contractors.

The methylamines plant is BASF’s first in North America. BASF decided to build the plant in February 2009. It was completed in May.

Beate Ehl, president, market and business development, BASF North America, said the plant represents the company’s commitment to sustainability and the future.

“With the assistance of the state of Louisiana to bring this investment to fruition, we are demonstrating our continued commitment to Ascension Parish and to this region,” Ehl said in a statement.

The project is participating in the state’s Enterprise Zone tax credit program, which structures incentives around how many jobs a project creates. And at Tuesday’s Louisiana Commerce and Industry Board meeting BASF was also approved to participate in the Industrial Tax Exemption program, which provides a 100 percent property tax abatement for up to 10 years for new capital investments made on the property.

The chemical company was one of 70 projects approved for the Industrial Tax Exemption program with investments totaling just under $409 million. The projects are set to create 747 jobs and will receive $63 million in property tax abatements, according to LED documents.

The C&I Board also approved 39 projects totaling $947 million in investment generating 1,093 jobs to participate in the Enterprise Zone program. The projects were granted $14.8 million in tax relief.

Some of the most substantial local projects to participate in the Enterprise Zone program include:

• CarMax Auto Superstores in East Baton Rouge Parish, a $9 million investment creating 70 jobs.

• Hammond Surgical Hospital in Tangipahoa Parish, an $11.3 million investment creating 86 jobs.

• Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette Parish, a $210 million investment creating 13 jobs.

• Om Shanti Om LLC in Lafayette Parish, a $4 million investment creating 25 jobs.

Some of the most significant local projects participating in the Industrial Tax Exemption program include:

• Motiva Enterprises in St. James Parish, a $75.6 million project.

• Criterion Catalyst and Technologies in West Baton Rouge Parish, a $21.7 million project.

• Honeywell International in Iberville Parish, a $13.7 million project.

Advocate business writer Ted Griggs contributed to this report