Freetown Street 2.082218

The Ergon St. James terminal and tank farm looms on the horizon Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018, as seen from Freetown Street in western St. James Parish. St. James Parish officials agreed Wednesday to hire an engineering firm to evaluate Freetown and three other roads in western St. James as possible industrial evacuation routes for residents. The Parish Council also recently agreed to a land use plan from Ergon to add 20 storage tanks on its property. The $200 million project is expected to start in October.

Ergon St. James plans to begin work this fall on a $200 million expansion of its tank farm and oil terminal.

The work will involve adding 20 storage tanks to the facility off Louisiana 18 in St. James, increasing the crude oil storage capacity by 3.7 million barrels.

The work is expected to create between 80 and 120 construction jobs and 12 permanent jobs, St. James Parish officials said. Construction is set to begin in October and be completed by the end of 2019.

Ergon uses the facility to offload crude oil from ships. The crude oil is stored in tanks, then transported by barge to a refinery in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The terminal has been open since the early 1970s.

Earlier this month, the St. James Parish Council unanimously approved plans to expand the terminal, with the condition that the new tanks are kept away from homes in the nearby Freetown community.

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.