ExxonMobil files ITEP request for Baton Rouge refinery modernization

The ExxonMobil facility in Baton Rouge

ExxonMobil is requesting a roughly $2.7 million property tax break over the first year of a project to modernize and upgrade its aging north Baton Rouge refinery, under the state’s industrial tax exemption program.

The Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry will take up ExxonMobil’s request at its meeting Friday.

The company has said it would seek a roughly $20 million exemption over the next 10 years. Overall, the oil and gas giant expects to invest more than $240 million in the project, but only $230,540,000 is eligible for ITEP abatement.

“Like any business, we compare the cost of investment when considering different locations,” says plant manager Gloria Moncada in a prepared statement. “Louisiana is competitive in some areas, like providing a skilled workforce, but in other areas like river transportation or pipeline infrastructure cost, it is at a deficit compared to our ExxonMobil facilities in Texas. Therefore, ITEP is an important economic tool helping us attract business to Louisiana.”

In an effort to make the 60-year-old Baton Rouge facility more competitive with ExxonMobil’s newer, more efficient refinery in Baytown, Texas, the three-year modernization program would improve processing capability, increase flexibility for meeting market demand, advance overall site competitiveness and install technology for a voluntary 10% reduction of volatile organic compound emissions.

The investment would create an average of 600 temporary construction jobs a year between 2021 and 2023 and generate an estimated $5 million a year in sales tax revenues and more than $40 million in property tax revenues. It would also enable the refinery to retain 1,300 engineer, operator and technician jobs, though it would not create any net new permanent jobs.

The BC&I is meeting Friday at 9:30 a.m. in the LaSalle Building at 617 North 3rd Street. Read the full agenda.