PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

April 17, 2014

OCI plant to create 240 permanent jobs

BEAUMONT — A 25-year veteran of the petrochemical industry, Pat Avery knows a potential economic boon when she sees one — and she said that the OCI Natagasoline’s latest development promises to be just that.

Avery, vice president of global business development for the Port Arthur-based strategic support Griffith Mosely Johnson and Associates, spoke Thursday about the $1 billion OCI Natagasoline company that GMJ is helping to launch in Beaumont.

The chemical segment of OCI N.V. produces nitrogen, fertilizers, methanol and other natural gas-based products, serving customers in every continent except Antarctica, Avery said at a monthly meeting of the Press Club of Southeast Texas, held at Cafe del Rio in Beaumont. OCI employs more than 72,000 people in 35 countries.

Its most recent endeavor will take up a portion of a 514-acre plot of land located near OCI’s Beaumont facility on Highway 347. The Natagasoline plant, which broke ground in March, will produce 5,000 metric tons per day,  or 1.7 million metric tons yearly once it opens in 2016 — making it the largest methanol plant in the nation.

Methanol is usually imported, Avery said, so having access to a plant so close to home is imperative.

She added that Beaumont — and all of Southeast Texas is a prime location for industry expansions due to its proximity to the Neches River, Sabine-Neches Waterway and Keystone Pipeline. OCI’s previous experience with the area also contributed to its decision to build its newest plant in Beaumont, Avery said.

“They have strong ties to Beaumont due to an excellent experience,” she said. “This area is warm and business friendly.”

Business is booming in Southeast Texas due to fracking and low natural gas, Avery said, and a thriving industry means positive changes for the entire area.

Avery spoke of the economic boon generated by BASF Total’s expansion, which resulted in a hospital and two restaurants — Saltgrass and Cheddar’s — coming to Port Arthur.

“For every billion you spend, the economic impact is tremendous,” she said. “Our business is the best it’s ever been in 25 years, and companies are all coming here to take advantage of it.”

Avery added that her company will remind OCI of its commitment to hiring local workers, possibly collaborating with Lamar Institute of Technology and the area’s other trade schools to garner funds from the Department of Labor.

“We’re trying to make sure they get a piece of the pie,” she said.

Email: ecallahan@panews.com

Twitter: @ErinnPA

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