by Max Brantley
The official announcement today of an expanded manufacturing facility in Bauxite says it could put 140 people to work.
Saint-Gobain, a French firm, will produce materials used in fracking for natural gas.
State Incentives: A sales tax refund for eligible building materials; a 1 percent income tax credit on new, full-time employees for five years; a $1.75 million grant to Saline County to buy equipment for the compnay.
The details from news release:
SALINE COUNTY, Arkansas, (August 31, 2011) — Saint-Gobain, one of the world’s largest suppliers of innovative ceramic products, today announced it will locate a new ceramic proppants production facility in Saline County, investing $100 million and creating up to 140 new jobs.
Saint-Gobain’s Proppants division will build a 100,000-square-foot facility on a 68-acre parcel of land on Cyanamid Road in Saline County. An existing Saint-Gobain manufacturing facility that supplies materials used in the proppant manufacturing process is located adjacent to the new facility.
The announcement was made at a ceremony at the Bauxite Community Center and Museum, attended by Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe and Antonio Vilela, Vice President and General Manager of Saint-Gobain NorPro, along with representatives of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and the Saline County Economic Development Corporation, who worked closely with Saint -Gobain to bring the project to Saline County.
“This investment is part of Saint-Gobain’s global strategy to invest in new technologies for energy and the environment,” says John Crowe, President and CEO of Saint-Gobain Corporation (Saint-Gobain’s North American holding company). “The increasing global demand for affordable energy is creating greater activity among oil and gas drilling companies, whose need for proppants will exceed our ability to supply them from Fort Smith alone. Saline County is the perfect location because of its proximity to many of our major oil and gas customers, and because it allows us to access Arkansas’ highly skilled workforce. We also have ample room for future expansion if needed.”
The new plant will manufacture ceramic proppants—spherical beads about the size of a grain of sand, that maintain integrity under extreme pressure. Proppants are inserted into underground fractures in oil and gas wells to “prop” open the fracture and increase productivity of the wells.
Saint-Gobain’s Proppants division already operates two manufacturing facilities in Arkansas. One is a proppants manufacturing facility in Fort Smith— which was the world’s first ceramic production plant, and which recently completed a $15 million expansion. The other Saint Gobain proppants facility is in Saline County and supplies materials used in the proppant manufacturing process.
Saint- Gobain also has major production facilities in Glenwood, Hot Springs, Little Rock and Nashville, as well as distribution operations in Fort Smith and Hot Springs. Saint Gobain currently employs approximately 400 people in Arkansas.
“These additional good jobs for Saline County show Saint-Gobain’s continued commitment to Arkansas,” Gov. Beebe said. “This is another example of global investment finding success in our state. It is a further testament that quality companies can prosper in Arkansas regardless of where they call home.”
“Today is a great day for the citizens of Saline County,” says Saline County Judge Lanny Fite. “Thanks to the Governor’s Office, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and the Saline County Economic Development Corporation for the hard work that went into bringing a world-class project to our area. Saint-Gobain is already a great local corporate citizen and we look forward to the company’s continued presence in Saline County for many years.”
Saint-Gobain expects to break ground for the new facility later this year, with product coming off the production line by the end of 2012.