Formosa Point Comfort expansion to create 225 permanent jobs, 1,800 construction jobs

Feb. 27, 2012 at 7 p.m.
Updated Feb. 27, 2012 at 8:28 p.m.

More than 200 permanent new jobs and 1,800 construction jobs are coming to Point Comfort as Formosa Plastics Corp. prepares to expand its operations.

Formosa Plastics Corp. announced plans Monday to invest more than $1.7 billion to expand its Point Comfort site.

The announcement was seen as a good economic sign for the area.

Local business owner Russell Cain said he is thrilled with this development.

Cain, who has been a Realtor in the area for 43 years, said he knows how valuable this kind of growth and development is.

"Jobs mean more rooftops, they mean more schools and more money for everyone in the area. I think it's fantastic."

Calhoun County Judge Michael Pfeifer said he and the other county officials knew there were plans to expand in Formosa, but they weren't sure of the scope of the expansion.

Pfeifer said he is looking forward to the growth, which will be good for everyone in the area.

"There are going to be 225 well-paying permanent jobs, and that is going to be great, not only for our community, but for the entire region," Pfeifer said. "They're highly paid jobs and we're happy to see them come here."

The expansion includes a new, grass-roots 800,000-megatons-per-year olefins cracker, an associated 600,000-megatons-per-year propane dehydrogenation unit and a new 300,000-megatons-per-year low density polyethylene resin plant.

The olefins cracker will take advantage of the increasingly reliable and low-cost domestic natural gas and supply feedstock both to existing production units and the new low density unit, according to the news release.

This comes as natural gas prices are predicted to hit a 10-year low in the United States, due to the glut of supplies from fracking shale formations and an unusually warm winter, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The wealth of cheap natural gas is bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. and manufacturing jobs have increased for the first time since 1997, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

An olefins "cracker" is a plant that converts ethane and propane into ethylene and propylene.

The PDH unit will also convert propane to propylene. Ethylene and propylene are the building blocks for production of the plastic resins produced at the plant, said Bill Harvey, the public relations director for Formosa.

The PDH unit will produce additional propylene, increasing operational flexibility. The addition of the country's newest low density polyethylene resin plant will complement the company's existing product line of polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride and specialty PVC, materials used to make various plastic products.

The expansion will create an estimated 1,800 construction jobs and, once completed, an additional 225 long-term operating and maintenance jobs, according to the news release.

"This will be the third major expansion at the Point Comfort site. It sends a clear signal of our dedication to substantial investment and job creation in the US," noted company Executive Vice President C. L. Tseng.

The company anticipates construction completion and start-up in 2016.

"This is a tremendous vote of confidence in the U.S. economy, the State of Texas and the Gulf Coast region's workforce," said Randy Smith, site vice president/ general manager.



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