LAKE CHARLES: Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards and CEO Soon Hyo “Steve” Chung of Lotte Chemical USA announced the company will establish its headquarters in Lake Charles, where the corporate office will join Lotte Chemical USA’s $1.1 billion monoethylene glycol – or MEG – plant under construction at the junction of Interstates 10 and 210. Together, the MEG plant and corporate headquarters will create 130 new direct jobs, with an average annual salary of more than $80,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the combined facilities will result in more than 1,200 permanent new indirect jobs, along with more than 3,000 construction jobs.
Lotte Chemical USA will move its headquarters from Houston to Lake Charles. In addition to Lotte Chemical’s MEG plant, the company is investing in a $1.9 billion joint venture with Westlake Chemical to build an ethane cracker complex, also under construction on the 250-acre site that will be home to the MEG plant and future headquarters. Combined, the joint venture, MEG plant and headquarters represent more than $3 billion in new capital investment, 265 new direct jobs, and more than 2,300 new indirect jobs in Lake Charles and surrounding areas.
“Southwest Louisiana is undergoing an industrial renaissance with record amounts of domestic and foreign-direct investment in new chemical and energy projects,” Gov. Edwards said. “We are proud to be increasing our profile as one of the world’s great energy providers. By capitalizing on these new major investments in manufacturing, we also are recruiting some of the best jobs that connect Louisiana’s energy corridor to the corporate boardroom. Lotte Chemical’s decision to move 50 high-paying corporate jobs to Lake Charles demonstrates how we are diversifying and strengthening our economy for the next generation.”
Lotte Chemical USA is part of the Seoul-based Lotte Group, South Korea’s fifth-largest company with $79 billion in annual revenue and more than 180,000 employees worldwide. Both plants are expected to begin operating in 2019. With Westlake Chemical, Lotte Chemical will split the output of the 1 million tons per year of ethylene produced by the ethane cracker. Westlake Chemical will convert its ethylene to the production of plastics and other derivatives, while Lotte Chemical will produce monoethylene glycol, a key ingredient in the making of paper, textile fibers, latex paints, asphalt, resins, antifreeze, coolants and adhesives. The Lake Charles site is expected to be the largest MEG plant in the U.S.
“We, at Lotte Chemical, are very proud of this project, as it represents a significant investment for us,” CEO Steve Chung said. “We selected Louisiana as the site for the state-of-the-art, steam-cracking facility and adjacent ethylene glycol plant due to the advantages of existing infrastructure, including access to competitive feedstock resources, as well as the distribution infrastructure and a skilled and well-trained workforce. Through the hard work and cooperation of LED and Lotte Chemical, we are able to announce this afternoon our intention of locating the corporate offices of Lotte Chemical USA in Louisiana. We would like to thank Governor Edwards, LED and everyone involved, and we look forward to the successful construction and startup of our facilities, as well as the relocation of our USA corporate headquarters.”
LED began discussing the potential industrial investments with Lotte Chemical and its partners in December 2013, leading to a final investment decision for the ethane cracker and MEG facilities in December 2015 and a groundbreaking for those facilities in June 2016.
“Southwest Louisiana continues to experience remarkable growth,” said President Kevin Guidry of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury. “In a short period of time, Lotte Chemical has already become a key driver in our region’s economic development. Together with Westlake Chemical, they broke ground on a multibillion-dollar complex, but their additional investment in Calcasieu Parish supports the fact that the people of Southwest Louisiana, and our infrastructure, are doing a great job to accommodate and facilitate positive economic development. We are fortunate to be undergoing great growth and investment, and will continue to work to move in a right direction. By doing so we can accomplish lasting, positive impacts for our parish, region and state for years to come.”
To secure the combined MEG plant and headquarters investment by Lotte Chemical, the State of Louisiana offered the company a competitive incentive package that includes a $12.5 million performance-based grant, payable over three years, to offset wetlands remediation and related infrastructure costs. Additionally, Lotte Chemical will receive the comprehensive solutions of LED FastStart®, the nation’s No. 1 state workforce training program, along with an Economic Development Award Program performance-based loan of $1.47 million for site infrastructure improvements, and participation in Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
Louisiana faced competition for the projects, including competition from Texas for the ethane cracker and headquarters, and Texas and South Korea for the MEG production facility.
“Today’s announcement of Lotte Chemical USA locating its U.S. headquarters in Southwest Louisiana not only adds more quality jobs to the workforce in our region, but brings a new dynamic of corporate leadership into our business community,” said President and CEO George Swift of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. “We look forward to working with Lotte executives as they locate in our community, by building strong business relationships in support of their new chemical complex and encouraging them to expand their business operations domestically.”
About Lotte Chemical
Lotte Chemical is a member of the Lotte Group in South Korea, which has been listed on the Korean Stock Exchange since 1991. Lotte Chemical is a leading manufacturer of petrochemical products, such as ethylene, propylene, butadiene, polyethylene, polypropylene, ethylene oxide/glycol, compound resin, polyethylene terephthalate, polycarbonate, methyl methacrylate, ethylene oxide derivatives, benzene, toluene, mixed xylene, purified terephthalic acid and purified isophthalic acid, among others. Lotte Chemical, headquartered in Seoul, has manufacturing facilities located throughout South Korea, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Poland, the U.K. and the U.S.