Gov. Bobby Jindal announced today a Chinese chemical company will open a methanol manufacturing complex in St. James Parish.

The $1.85 billion project by Yuhuang Chemical Inc., a subsidiary of Shandong Yuhuang Chemical Co. Ltd., will create 400 direct jobs with an average salary of $85,000 and 2,365 indirect jobs, according to a press release from Jindal's office. Construction is set to begin along the Mississippi River in 2016, with manufacturing operations set to begin in 2018.

Jindal, along with Yuhuang Chemical CEO Charlie Yao, held a press conference in Vacherie Thursday to make the announcement.

Aside from the commonly used FastStart workforce training program and the Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption program, Louisiana Economic Development's incentive package includes a $9.5 million grant to be paid over five years beginning in 2017 to offset infrastructure costs, and $1.7 million will be paid over 10 years to defray costs of riverfront access and development, Jindal's office said.

The governor's office says it's the company's first major U.S. investment, and it has secured an option to purchase more than 1,100 acres for a three-phase project next to the Plains All-American Pipeline terminal.

From the governor's office:

After the first methanol plant is completed, the company will build a second methanol plant and reach an annual capacity of 3 million metric tons per annum of methanol. A third phase will include a methanol derivatives plant that will produce intermediate chemicals. Most of the project’s methanol will be exported by oceangoing vessels for use in the parent company’s production of downstream chemicals in China, with approximately 20 percent to 30 percent of the methanol to be shipped by barge and rail and sold to North American customers.


Yuhuang Chemical has selected China Huanqiu Contracting & Engineering Corp., known as HQC, to complete engineering work for the project. The company has licensed methanol technology from Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions. Hiring will begin in 2015, with employment reaching 200 by 2017 and 400 six years later.