SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal and Benteler Steel/Tube marked the start of construction Monday with a groundbreaking on the company's new $975 million hot rolling seamless steel tube mill in Caddo Parish.
"This new manufacturing facility — our first in the United States — is an important part of our global growth strategy," said Matthias Jaeger, president and CEO of Benteler Steel/Tube GmbH. "With more than 25 percent of our steel/tube products already flowing into the United States, and demand expected to increase, this new Caddo Parish plant is poised to play a critical role in supporting the U.S. domestic energy industry."
The Paderborn, Germany-based company, in a news release, said the Louisiana site at the Caddo-Bossier Port was chosen from more than 100 possible locations in 13 states due to its proximity to the North American oil and gas production market and the area's skilled workforce.
The facility will create more than 1,000 construction jobs and an estimated 675 full-time jobs when the facility is at full production capacity.
"Benteler has seen the quality of Louisiana's workforce, and the state's growing role in the expanding U.S. domestic oil and natural gas production industry," Jindal said in a statement. "Investments like Benteler's bring high-paying, skilled jobs to our state, as well as continuing education and training programs that will ensure our ability to continue attracting world-class companies to Louisiana."
Jeager said construction should be completed by late 2014, with operations starting in the second half of 2015.
The facility will be built in two phases. The first phase is a hot rolling tube mill, along with several finishing lines, for the production of seamless tubes. Phase 2 includes building an electric arc furnace for producing high-quality steel on-site. The final finished facility will encompass more than 1.35 million square feet and be capable of producing up to 320,000 tons of steel tubes annually.
Benteler Steel/Tube is a business unit of the global Benteler Group, which is based in Salzburg, Austria. The company is a specialist in the manufacturing and processing of seamless hot-rolled steel tubes and seamless cold-drawn precision steel tubes. It serves international customers in the automotive, OCTG/line pipe, heat transfer, hydraulics/precision engineering and construction sectors.
The company said a new, state-of-the-art training facility is also being built on the campus of Bossier Parish Community College, featuring specialized manufacturing technology equipment and programs designed to meet Benteler's manufacturing skills needs. Once the plant is operational, the facility will be become a regional hub for providing advanced manufacturing support and training for other companies.