Project investments by ExxonMobil in Baton Rouge in 2017 totaled about $340 million and included projects at all five local facilities, the company said Monday.

“We are experiencing a narrow window of increased capital investment opportunity,” said ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Chemicals Sites Manager Dave Luecke. “With the low cost of natural gas in the U.S. and the growing demand for plastics and polymers across the world, we are investing more in new projects along the Gulf Coast. Hopefully, we will be able to bring some of this increased investment to Baton Rouge.”

The 2017 projects include upgrades that help position ExxonMobil Baton Rouge to compete in the worldwide marketplace, and do not include investments to meet regulatory requirements, the company said. The investments resulted in more than $30.6 million in local sales and use taxes.

The company noted that earlier this year Louisiana was in competition for the world's largest ethylene cracker plant that would have created 600 new jobs and an additional 11,000 jobs during construction. A site in San Patricio County, Texas, was selected.

“We want Louisiana to be a strong competitor for future investment that ExxonMobil may be considering,” ExxonMobil Chemical Americas Regional Manufacturing Manager Charles Dabadie.

Over the past three years, more than $1 billion dollars in capital projects has been invested in Baton Rouge area facilities, helping retain more than 6,500 local employees and contractors. Over the past five years, ExxonMobil Baton Rouge has hired more than 1,000 employees, averaging about 200 new employees annually.

Each year, about 1,900 long-term contractors provide support to ExxonMobil Baton Rouge area facilities, the company said. 

Over the next 10 years, about $2 billion in property tax payments will roll back onto parish tax books from the previous decade’s investments that had received tax breaks. This will result in more than $105 million in total taxes with $49.4 million going to the school system, $38.9 million to the Parish and $16.8 million to the Sheriff’s Department.