ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge refinery could get $410 million worth of upgrades, according to preliminary documents filed with the state economic development department.
Exxon filed the advance notice for the projects with Louisiana Economic Development because it is asking for the Enterprise Zone tax incentive, which is designed for companies that create new jobs. The upgrades would create 600 construction jobs and five new permanent jobs, according to the notice.
“This advance represents several potential projects that we hope to bring to the refinery,” Exxon Baton Rouge spokeswoman Stephanie Cargile said. “We were able to file a state Enterprise Zone contract advance notification because of the anticipated, local job growth that would be associated with the investment and that is required by the program.”
Cargile said the company will not file 2018 advances for the Industrial Tax Exemption Program on potential investments until later this year. The ITEP provides property tax breaks for manufacturers that spend money on capital investment, and is currently the center of a debate over tax giveaways and economic development.
In March, officials with Exxon Baton Rouge confirmed the company is evaluating a potential expansion of light crude refining capacity in North America, a move that could bring a major expansion of the firm’s Beaumont refinery. Officials then did not offer any information on any project at Baton Rouge’s refinery, but Reuters reported the North America expansion would boost refining capacity in Louisiana’s capital city.
According to the documents filed with LED, the Baton Rouge refinery currently employs 1,280 people, with an $89 million payroll. The project description in the document said “upgrades to crude oil refining facility.”
Exxon also has talked publicly of a potential expansion of the company’s polyolefins plant worth “several hundred million dollars,” one of 13 planned facilities aimed at growing the oil and gas giant’s chemical manufacturing capacity.
A final investment decision on that project, which would boost polypropylene output, is expected later this year. The project would create 60 new jobs when complete, along with 600 construction jobs. It is part of a 10-year, $20 billion “growing the Gulf” initiative that calls for 11 projects in the region.