Baton Rouge considered for $240 million Exxon refinery project
BATON ROUGE – Amid a tumultuous job market and concerns over falling oil prices, ExxonMobil announced Wednesday, it is considering a $240 million upgrade at its Baton Rouge refinery and will solicit tax incentives to facilitate the project.
The incentives, which have been the focus of some controversy in Baton Rouge recently, are known as the Industrial Tax Exemption Program or ITEP. Business groups are in favor of the tax exemption program, which industries request when planning and funding high-dollar buildouts. In January 2019, the program was the focus of scrutiny in Baton Rouge.
Exxon said the project would retain the 1,300 existing refinery jobs, create 600 construction jobs at the refinery over a three year period and create 20 full-time jobs. The 20 jobs would come from the North Baton Rouge Industrial Training Initiative, a program Exxon helped create in 2012.
A final decision on the project at the Baton Rouge refinery is expected in 2021. The project would improve processing capability, increase flexibility for meeting market demand, advance overall site competitiveness, and install technology for a voluntarily 10 percent reduction of volatile organic compound emissions, the state said in a news release about the plans.
“ExxonMobil has operated in Baton Rouge for more than 110 years and has provided high-quality jobs for decades at the integrated refinery and chemical plant complex,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a prepared statement. “...ExxonMobil has confidence in the future of Louisiana and in our outstanding workforce. Louisiana looks forward to working with ExxonMobil to make this investment happen.”
“We are proud of our long history in Louisiana, and I’m very excited about the positive potential of this investment for ExxonMobil and for the state, especially during this challenging economic time for industry,” Plant Manager Gloria Moncada of the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Refinery said in a statement.
Also in a statement, the mayor of Baton Rouge called for support of the project: “ExxonMobil is an economic driver in East Baton Rouge, supporting thousands of residents with quality jobs, strategically partnering with local companies for procurement needs, and injecting millions of dollars into public services,” Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said. “I am encouraged by the news that Baton Rouge is being considered for this project, and call on my fellow elected leaders to support it in becoming a reality.”
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