Air Liquide seeks ITEP approval for Port Allen, Geismar expansions

(The Associated Press)

Air Liquide is planning $284 million in new construction projects in West Baton Rouge and Ascension parishes, and is vying for ITEP and enterprise zone approval.

Separate ITEP and enterprize zone applications have been filed with the state for both projects.

The West Baton Rouge Parish Council is scheduled to take up its ITEP request at its meeting next week, as well as a second application by Reliant Technologies for a $1.5 million expansion project.

Air Liquide plans to build a $145.5 million air separation unit at its Port Allen facility, according to documents filed with the Louisiana Economic Development. The unit would create 10 new jobs, with an estimated annual payroll of $1 million.

A second, $139 million unit is planned for the Geismar facility. That unit is estimated to create four new jobs, with $400,000 in new payroll, and retain 40 jobs with $4 million in payroll. The Ascension Council hasn’t taken up the request yet. Construction on both projects is expected to begin in January 2021. Each would provide 150 temporary construction jobs.

The company has also applied for an enterprise zone tax credit, asking for a $3,500 or $1,000 tax credit for each new job created.

Air Liquide announced the projects in September as part of an agreement with Methanex to supply its plant expansion project in Geismar. The announcement says the company will build two new air separation units. Each unit will have a 2,500 tons-per-day capacity for oxygen, a 25% increase. Production is expected to begin by mid-2020.

“Air Liquide’s significant investment to support this new endeavor by Methanex and enhance our infrastructure in the Geismar Basin further demonstrates our global commitment to energy efficiency, our collaborative approach to meeting the needs of customers, and highlights our outlook for the robust growth of industry in the Gulf Coast region of the U.S.” Michael J. Graff, executive vice president and executive committee member at Air Liquide Group, said at the time.

Reliant Technology in Port Allen expanded its manufacturing capacity with a $1.5 million project, scheduled to have been completed by the end of 2019. That project is expected to create three new jobs, with $100,000 in payroll, and retain seven others, according to LED documents.