Construction has started on a $3 billion chemical manufacturing project in Lake Charles.

LACC LLC, a joint venture of Lotte Chemical and Axiall Corp., will build a $1.9 billion ethane cracker complex near Axiall’s existing manufacturing plants in Calcasieu Parish. Using a portion of ethylene produced by that plant, Lotte Chemical will produce monoethylene glycol at a $1.1 billion plant constructed beside the ethane cracker.

The projects will create 215 new direct jobs, with the ethane cracker producing 135 jobs with an average annual salary of $75,500, plus benefits, and the monoethylene glycol facility producing 80 jobs paying $87,000, plus benefits.

With its project, Axiall will retain 1,600 existing workers in the Lake Charles area, and the company estimates 2,000 construction jobs will be created at peak building activity for the new plants.

Both plants are expected to begin operating in 2019.

To secure the projects, the state offered the companies an incentive package that includes a Modernization Tax Credit of $4.55 million for the ethane cracker project. Both projects will tap the state’s FastStart job-training program and receive Economic Development Award Program incentives of $700,000 for the ethane cracker and $1.47 million for the MEG facility to pay for site infrastructure improvements. In addition, the companies are expected to use Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.