Shell is moving forward with a $121.7 million expansion to boost output at its Port Allen catalyst manufacturing plant, Louisiana Economic Development announced Monday.
The expansion is expected to create 17 jobs with an average annual salary of more than $94,000, LED said. It is also expected to create 57 indirect jobs. There are 86 employees at the plant, which is run by Shell’s Catalysts and Technologies division.
The work will boost capacity of “high-performance” catalysts at the Port Allen plant — the largest refining catalyst plant in the word — by an additional 15,000 tons per year. Shell officials declined to reveal the plant's current output.
Preliminary construction on the project began earlier this year, LED officials said. Shell and the state announced a final investment decision Monday. Equipment installation is expected to begin in September 2024, and final product testing is expected by the end of that year.
"Shell Catalysts and Technologies has a more than 13-year history of operation at Port Allen that has provided jobs for over a decade and made the site a world-class catalyst manufacturing facility,” Elise H. Nowee, vice president of Shell Catalysts and Technologies, said in a statement. “The company’s investment is another testament of our commitment to the state of Louisiana as a prime location for doing business.”
Catalysts are used in the manufacturing process to increase the rate at which chemical reactions occur. They help produce a wide range of items including biofuels, sustainable aviation fuel, medical equipment and shoes.
The “high-performance” catalysts made via the Port Allen expansion should be less energy intensive when used in reactions than standard catalysts, LED’s news release said.
Shell is expected to participate in the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption incentive programs, LED said.