Louisiana continued to see progress among previously announced mega-projects, as well as a few new announcements for the massive manufacturing facilities. All are capitalizing on plentiful supplies of cheap natural gas and a built-in infrastructure.

In 2014, Louisiana announced dozens of company expansions or relocations that officials said will result in more than 8,200 new direct jobs and 17,000 spin-off jobs, with more than $16 billion in new capital investment.

The Louisiana Economic Development Department noted last week that the state scored wins in traditional industries, such as energy and manufacturing, but also growth industries such as digital media and software development, along with emerging logistics and international commerce projects.

The largest project to receive the go-ahead was Sasol Ltd.’s $8.1 billion ethane cracker near Lake Charles.

The cracker will produce 1.5 million tons of ethylene, used to make a long list of chemicals, each year.

Sasol President and Chief Executive Officer David Constable said the decision was “a defining moment” in the South African company’s history.

Sasol plans to spend an additional $800 million on infrastructure, utility improvements and property. The company is still determining whether to build a natural gas-to-liquids facility that would push the complex’s total price tag into the $22 billion range.

More than $84 billion in chemical and petrochemical projects alone have been announced in Louisiana.

Other major projects announced in 2014 include:

  • A.M. Agrigen’s $1.2 billion fertilizer plant in St. Charles Parish. The Killona facility will take about 30 months to build and is expected to create 150 direct jobs paying an average of $55,000 a year plus benefits. The Louisiana Economic Development Department estimates the project would generate 1,025 new indirect jobs.
  • Castleton Commodities International LLC’s $1.2 billion methanol manufacturing plant in the Braithwaite area of Plaquemines Parish. The project, on the east bank of the Mississippi River, is expected to create 50 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of about $72,000, plus benefits. In addition, LED estimates the project will result in 291 indirect jobs.
  • The North American subsidiary of a major Chinese petrochemical company announced plans for a $1.2 billion methanol complex in St. James Parish. The project would create 400 permanent jobs and 2,365 indirect jobs in the area over a nine-year period. Yuhuang Chemical Inc. plans to build the massive complex on River Road on the west bank of the Mississippi. Yuhuang is a subsidiary of the $5 billion Shandong Yuhuang Chemical Co. Ltd. The complex will be capable of producing 1.9 million tons of methanol a year.
  • Southern California Telephone & Energy subsidiary SCT&E LNG acquired the site for a proposed $9.2 billion natural gas liquefaction facility on Monkey Island in Cameron Parish. The LNG export arm of the utility also received permission to export 13.3 million tons of LNG per year to Free Trade Agreement countries. SCT&E’s next steps are taking the LNG company public and securing an export license to the more lucrative non-Free Trade Agreement markets, which include Asia and Europe.
  • Axiall Corp.’s proposed $3 billion ethane cracker in the Lake Charles area. The facility would create an estimated 250 full-time jobs, 2,000 to 3,000 construction jobs and support more than 2,000 jobs indirectly. Axiall already operates a chloralkali plant in Plaquemine and two facilities in Lake Charles.
  • Williams Partners LP floated the idea of adding a $5 billion ethane cracker to the company’s Geismar complex. Williams officials said the company was looking to partner with one or two other firms on the megaproject. Williams’ recently completed expansion project at Geismar added 600 million pounds of capacity to the current facility, boosting production capacity to 1.95 billion pounds of ethylene per year.

Editor’s note: This article was changed on Saturday, Jan. 4, to reflect that 2014 company expansions and relocations will create 8,200 new direct jobs and 17,000 spin-off jobs, according to information provided by state economic development officials.