BAY CITY (AP) - International energy pipeline giant Tenaris SA said Friday it plans to build a $1.3 billion Gulf Coast manufacturing facility that will bring 600 new jobs and better supplying operations to Texas' oil- and natural gas-rich Eagle Shale region.
Gov. Rick Perry said Tenaris, the world's No. 1 producer of steel tubing for the oil industry, is receiving $6 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund, a pot of money meant to attract outside firms and businesses to the state. The company's North American headquarters is based in Houston.
The Republican governor said he helped convince the company to choose Texas as it expands its U.S. workforce, noting he met with Tenaris leadership during an economic development trip to Italy last year and during a Formula 1 race in Austin two months later.
"The most profound statement about our favorable economic climate comes when companies like Tenaris make an investment of this size in our state," Perry said in statement. "That says that not only is Texas the best place to grow your business now, but they're confident that we'll remain that way moving forward."
Perry joined Tenaris executives and area elected officials south of Houston in Bay City, where the facility will be built, as part of the announcement.
The 1 million-square-foot plant is set to open in 2016. It will feature a seamless pipe mill, heat treatment and premium threading facilities and is expected to eventually produce 600,000 tons of pipe annually.
"With this investment, we will strengthen our local production and service capabilities to address the growing demands of the energy industry," German Cura, Tenaris' president of North America, said in a statement.
Incorporated since 2002 in Luxembourg and with hubs in Italy, Argentina and elsewhere around the globe, Tenaris has around 27,000 employees worldwide.
Perry's office oversees the Texas Enterprise Fund, which was created in 2003 by the Legislature and has been used to convince firms including Apple Inc. to expand in Texas. Projects financed by the fund have to be approved by the governor, lieutenant governor and the Texas House speaker.
The governor said the fund has now invested more than $493 million and helped close the deals on projects generating more than 66,300 new jobs and $18.6-plus billion in capital investment statewide.
But it hasn't come without controversy. Some Republicans have branded the Texas Enterprise Fund as corporate welfare, while Democrats note it has yet to undergo an independent audit in the decade since it was created.