St. Charles Parish Council approved a proposal at its Monday night meeting that would allow the Valero Refinery to expand, creating 1,500 temporary construction jobs and 30 to 50 permanent jobs once the project is complete.
The council’s resolution supports the $1 billion in industrial revenue bonds sought by the company for the expansion.
“In October of 2006 we received approval for a permit from the department of environmental quality, which put the project in motion,” Valero’s Ron Guillory told the Herald-Guide.
“There’s a lot of steps to go through in an expansion of this magnitude.”
Guillory stressed that Valero has not committed to the project to expand the refinery’s capacity from 220,000 barrels of crude per day to 380,000 barrels, but the company is lining up permits and financing before making the decision.
“This project will allow our refinery to stay competitive, to stay in business, and to continue our good work in St. Charles Parish,” Guillory said.
If approved, the bonds would allow the company to borrow the money at a lower rate than in the normal commercial bond market.
The St. Charles bond request comes shortly after Valero postponed planned expansions of plants in Texas City, Texas, and in Canada, citing high construction costs that stem from a shortage of skilled labor in the refining business. St. Charles Parish President Albert Laque said: “We think the plant expansion is a good idea for our parish.”