$4.5 billion clean energy complex slated for Ascension Parish
BATON ROUGE - Amid a push to clean energy, Air Products announced a $4.5 billion clean energy complex will be built in Ascension Parish.
"[The plant] will make the state a leader in the United States' clean energy transition," the company said in a statement.
Air Products produces and transports hydrogen and other essential industrial gases to many customer facilities in Louisiana, across the U.S. Gulf Coast and around the world. The plant will produce blue hydrogen. "Blue" products are produced utilizing hydrocarbons as a feedstock. The balance of the blue hydrogen from the new Ascension Parish facility will be used to make blue ammonia that will be transported around the world and converted back to blue hydrogen for transportation and other markets.
The project will create 170 permanent jobs with a total annual payroll of $15.9 million and more than 2,000 construction jobs over three years. It represents Air Products' largest-ever investment in the U.S.
"That's big dollars. There's good tax money coming and good jobs. I think it's good for the economy here. We need it," said Kevin Kelly, owner of Houma's House and Gardens.
Kelly says the new plant will fill the economic void that's been felt by the closure of Shell's Convent refinery.
"We lost the shell plant not long ago which is only about two miles away. It's a shame we lost it. It had about 1,000 to 1,200 jobs, so this will be a nice catch-up," he said.
Parish President Clint Cointment says this project will play a large role in boosting the economy.
"The project will not only make a significant investment in our parish, but will also add a high-quality employment opportunity for the residents in our community," Cointment said.
The state offered Air Products incentives to build. Those include up to $5 million dollars in grant funding to offset plant and pipeline construction costs and a hand in the Industrial Tax Exemption Program.
"We have to remain economically competitive while also demanding the next generation of chemical industry benefits both to our economy and our environment," Cointment said.
The new venture is a win for many business owners like Kelly.
"It brings jobs and it brings more people who love to visit places like this," he said.
The facility is expected to be up and running in 2026.