Fueling Growth

A new hydrogen plant in St. James Parish is a testament to Louisiana’s economic development.

hydrogen storage system in waste incinerator

Linde, a leading industrial gases and engineering company based in the United Kingdom, will begin construction on a $250 million world-scale hydrogen plant in St. James Parish late this year. Hydrogen, which is used to produce ultra-low-sulfur diesel and other transportation fuels, as well as intermediate and specialty chemicals, is a critical requirement for oil refineries and chemical companies. The new facility is expected to be one of the largest hydrogen plants in the United States once commercial operations begin, which could be as soon as 2021.

Linde will build, own and operate the steam methane reformer, which will have a capacity of more than 170 million standard cubic feet per day of high-purity hydrogen. Once complete, the plant will increase the company’s Gulf Coast hydrogen capacity to more than 1.7 billion standard cubic feet per day. Linde has already invested more than $500 million in Louisiana, including a new syngas processing plant at BASF’s facility in Geismar, Louisiana, slated to start up in 2020, and the completion of a new syngas plant in Geismar that increases carbon monoxide supply to customers in the surrounding region.

The new hydrogen plant will create 15 new direct jobs with an average salary of $80,000 per year, and Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in 62 new indirect jobs. Furthermore, the project will generate an estimated 150 construction jobs.

“St. James Parish welcomes Linde and their construction of a $250 million steam methane reformer facility,” said St. James Parish President Timmy Roussel in a press release issued by LED. “This type of project works well with our land use plan in every way. We also look forward to working with Linde in placing as many local hires as possible to fill those $80,000 annual average wage positions.”

As part of Linde’s 90-mile Mississippi River corridor hydrogen pipeline system that stretches from Baton Rouge to St. Charles Parish, the new facility will supply some of the leading chemical manufacturing companies in Louisiana’s Southeast and Capital regions. This development furthers the company commitment as the preferred hydrogen supplier in the U.S. Gulf Coast.

LED began formal discussions with Linde about its new hydrogen plant in May 2018, showing just how far negotiations have come in such a short amount of time. The company is expected to use the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program, which offers attractive incentives for manufacturers who make a commitment to jobs and payroll in the state. Meanwhile, the company also has launched several educational programs and scholarship opportunities through its Skills Pipeline Workplace Development Program and Global Giving Program to emphasize the importance of STEM education to Louisiana students.

“Linde’s commitment to Louisiana is a vote of confidence in our state’s industrial corridor, and it represents another great win for Louisiana’s growing economy,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards in the press release. “Our business-friendly climate, our natural resources, our world-class infrastructure, and our highly skilled and highly engaged workforce are all contributing to the industrial expansion we’re seeing in Louisiana. This new investment from Linde will create new opportunities for our people and support increased economic activity in the region.”

Michael Hecht, president and CEO of GNO Inc., also commended Linde for its expansion in the River Region, saying that this project further demonstrates economic growth in the state.

“We are seeing record industrial investment in Louisiana, from around the world, thanks to our unbeatable combination of access to natural gas, pipeline infrastructure and world-class workforce.”

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