BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Shell Oil Co. announced Tuesday that it has settled on Ascension Parish to possibly build a $12.5 billion natural gas to liquids plant that would create 740 direct jobs.
No final decision has been made on whether to construct the facility on a site near Sorrento, about 30 miles from Baton Rouge. The company says it will decide after engineering studies and environmental permitting are done.
"Selecting a site is an important step that allows us to conduct more detailed planning, technical analysis and begin the permitting process," Jorge Santos Silva, who directs integrated gas activities for Shell Upstream Americas, said in a statement.
He said if the company decides to build the project, it likely will cost more than the $12.5 billion it guaranteed Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration in exchange for a package of state incentives.
State leaders praised the announcement by the affiliate of Shell Oil, called Gulf Coast GTL LLC.
"We know that the final investment decision is yet to come, but we also know that Shell's selection of Louisiana proves once again that there's no better place in the world for major business investment," Jindal said in a statement.
The governor's office said the state offered an incentive package that includes a $112 million grant for road improvements, land purchasing and other infrastructure costs. Plus, Shell would receive additional tax breaks from the state.
The plant would create natural gas-based diesel and jet fuels, along with specialty waxes and products used in plastics and detergents that are normally made from oil. If built, the plant jobs would average annual salaries of $100,000 plus benefits.
An economic analysis done by LSU suggests thousands in indirect jobs would be created by the facility, along with up to 10,000 construction jobs during the building of the plant.