St. Charles Herald-Guide

$1.2 billion Killona plant would create 1,175 new jobs

Kyle Barnett - May 23, 2014

After a nationwide search, AM Agrigen Industries has zeroed in on a 650-acre site in Killona for the construction of a $1.2 billion fertilizer production facility that would use the Port of South Louisiana to ship their product internationally.

If the project receives final approval, it is estimated to create 150 permanent jobs with a $55,000 average salary. It’s believed that 1,025 indirect jobs would be created as well.

The plant would manufacture nitrogen rich urea fertilizer for agriculture use.  

The announcement of the planned project comes after AM Agrigen Industries secured the option to purchase the land where the facility would be located. The potential site for the facility begins at the intersection of River Road and Landeche Road in Killona and would also take up vacant land located west of La. Highway 3141.

Mark VandeVoorde, CEO of AM Agrigen Industries, said the Killona site meets all of the requirements necessary for the plant.

“There is a good amount of land available, which is required. The site itself was suitable. It has access to the river and rail that is close by,” he said.

Another positive is the ready availability of natural gas supplied by pipelines in the area, which the plant would use as its main feedstock. However, VandeVoorde stressed that the deal is still a long way from being finalized. He would not discuss the chances of the project actually getting the green light.

“That’s something I’d hate to take a guess at. It is just too early in the process. It’s a long process and there is a lot of analysis. We are in the early stages of it,” he said.  The project is currently pending approval of air and water permits from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

Should the project receive final approval, construction would likely begin in mid-2015 and the facility would take about 30 months to complete.

Corey Faucheux, director of Economic Development and Tourism for St. Charles Parish, said he is cautiously optimistic that the plant will be built in Killona.

“For them to have the confidence to make an announcement like they did one can only assume they feel good about their chances of getting or acquiring the necessary permits,” he said.  

Should the plant be built,  Faucheux said the potential economic impact for St. Charles Parish would be huge.

“If the project comes to fruition you are looking at numerous high-paying jobs for local residents and millions worth of procurement for our small businesses,” he said. “It is going to cost roughly $1 billion to build it and they are going to need subcontractors to do much of the work. The company has committed to using local businesses and to employing local residents whenever possible.”

In his 20 years working for St. Charles Parish, Faucheux said he has not seen such a large industrial investment from a company that is new to the area.

“It has been a long time since we have had an industrial development in the parish where a company is building such a large industrial facility on vacant land,” he said.

St. Charles Parish President V.J. St. Pierre echoed Faucheux’s sentiments.

“We are excited about the new opportunities presented by bringing a new type of industry to St. Charles Parish, including the addition of new jobs,” St. Pierre said. “AM Agrigen is a company that brings high-caliber leadership, a commitment to safety and a strong desire to become a model corporate citizen in the St. Charles Parish community.”

Proposed site of AM Agrigen Industries plant.
Proposed site of AM Agrigen Industries plant.