Governor visits area for project completion

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, April 8, 2014

By Monique Roth

GARYVILLE – Gov. Bobby Jindal, St. John the Baptist Parish President Natalie Robottom and Air Products and Chemicals Senior Vice President Steve Jones, along with other local officials, announced the completion of $1 billion in project investments in Louisiana that have tripled the production capacity of the largest hydrogen pipeline network system in the world.

Over the past four years, Air Products and Chemicals has built and brought on-stream four major hydrogen plants along the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to the greater New Orleans area, boosting vital hydrogen supply to Louisiana’s refinery and petrochemical sector. Air Products operates 19 facilities in Louisiana, including the four new steam methane reformer plants constructed in Baton Rouge, Garyville, Norco and Luling. The construction phase of the projects began in 2009 and is concluding with the commissioning of the Norco hydrogen plant this spring. Air Products is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Enterprise Zone and Industrial Tax Exemption Program incentives.

Air Products’ steam methane reformer in Garyville is designed to generate 120 million standard cubic feet per day of hydrogen for use at the Marathon Refinery and other Louisiana hydrogen customers. The facility has 14 employees on site.

Another Air Products’ site in Reserve, which manufactures liquid soaps, has 32 employees.

“We are extremely pleased about Air Products’ new investment and the new career opportunities it will create for our residents,” said Robottom. “Industry is the backbone of St. John the Baptist Parish, and this investment will further enhance economic development in the parish and foster a stronger relationship with a great community partner.”

The project created 32 new direct jobs with an average salary of $80,000 per year, plus benefits, across the four hydrogen gas facilities in Louisiana. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in an additional 124 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 150 new jobs in the state. Air Products and Chemicals also retained 308 existing jobs in Louisiana, and the company’s new hydrogen projects created 1,600 construction jobs. The 600-mile hydrogen pipeline runs from the Houston Ship Channel in Texas to major industrial customers in the New Orleans region.

“Air Products’ ongoing commitment to Louisiana through the completion of the world’s largest hydrogen pipeline system across our state demonstrates the strategic value of Louisiana’s world-scale energy infrastructure and our emergence as one of the very best business climates in our nation,” said Jindal. “This project adds great value to our energy sector and continues the energy renaissance that is happening here in our state.”

Jindal added that Air Products’ multibillion-dollar investment in Louisiana since 1965 has supported a highly skilled workforce both for the company and its many refinery and petrochemical customers. He said this investment will continue driving Louisiana’s economy for years to come and that the state is proud Air Products chose to expand and invest here.

Air Products and Chemicals supplies atmospheric, process and specialty gases; performance materials; and equipment and technology for effective solutions to energy, environmental and emerging-market challenges. Those markets include semiconductor materials, refinery hydrogen, coal gasification, natural gas liquefaction, and advanced coatings and adhesives in more than 50 countries.

“Air Products’ hydrogen production facilities are integral to the continued operations of the refinery and petrochemical industries and its tens of thousands of jobs in Louisiana,” Jones said. “Air Products substantially expanded its hydrogen supply capability and significantly expanded our hydrogen pipeline network, which is the largest in the world and now runs from Houston to Lake Charles to New Orleans.”