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Sasol Snares Silver In Business Facilities 2012 Deal Of The Year

One of the largest private-sector investments for a single industrial project in U.S. history is the Silver Award winner in Business Facilities’ 2012 Economic Development Deal of the Year competition.

Sasol Ltd., a global energy company based in South Africa, decided that Louisiana’s highly developed pipeline infrastructure is perfectly suited to its plans to develop a $10-billion gas-to-liquids processing plant that will enable it to tap into the natural gas bonanza in the U.S. emanating from abundant shale gas reserves.

In addition to the processing plant, which will yield 96,000 barrels/day of premium fuels, Sasol North America also plans to build a $4.5-billion cracker unit at its Lake Charles Chemical Complex in Westlake, LA. The cracker will produce up to 1.4 million tons annually of ethylene used to make plastics.

The new facilities in Calcasieu Parish will result in the creation of more than 5,000 permanent jobs in the Southwest Louisiana region, in addition to the 5,500 construction jobs that will be engaged in building the project through 2020. The expanded Lake Charles complex will have a direct economic impact in the region estimated at more than $29 billion over the next 20 years.

“Louisiana’s innovative and robust approach to securing this project is a model worth emulating by other states for developments of this scale,” said Business Facilities Editor in Chief Jack Rogers.

The Economic Development Deal of the Year judging panel was particularly impressed with Louisiana’s willingness to go the extra mile in securing land options for the project, the customized incentives package offered to Sasol and the state’s creative use of LED’s GIS mapping in presenting its proposal to the energy giant, Rogers said.

Using a multi-layered GIS map displayed on an iPad, LED officials were able to show site details, utilities, nearest rail access, proximity to the river and the Port of Lake Charles during the first site visits by the Sasol team. According to LED, the introduction of the new GIS mapping enabled Southwest Louisiana to pull ahead of a Canadian province that was competing for the project.

In announcing the mega-deal with Sasol, Gov. Bobby Jindal said the $14.5-billion petrochemical complex “will bolster Louisiana’s position as the No. 1 exporter of energy in America.” Gov. Jindal also noted the Lake Charles complex will represent a huge new source of demand for natural gas in the state, including gas extracted from deposits in the Haynesville Shale formation.

The Sasol project was a joint effort involving Louisiana Economic Development, Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance and the Port of Lake Charles.

Projects nominated for Business Facilities’ annual Economic Development Deal of the Year competition are asked to submit an Economic Impact Analysis for the project (using standard analysis methods including RIMS II, REMI or IMPLAN) and a narrative detailing how the project came together.

The judging panel, including industry experts and leading site selection consultants, evaluates the overall impact of the project and assesses the effectiveness and innovation of the location’s approach to landing the deal. Key factors in the evaluation include creative use of incentives, regional cooperation, partnerships with higher education resources, potential for growth and execution of overall economic development strategy.

For additional coverage of the Sasol announcement, click this link. Click the highlighted links to read about winners in GoldBronze and Honorable Mention categories along with the winner of BF‘s State of the Year Award.

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