China’s Wanhua Chemical said it will develop a $1.12 billion chemical manufacturing complex in Louisiana, noting the state’s proximity to abundant natural gas supply as well as waterborne transport.
Wanhua plans to produce methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) at the facility, which would combine a $954 million investment by Wanhua with a $166 million investment by project partners. Site selection is to be made later this year. The company said it had considered locating the facility in Texas but settled on Louisiana.
The project would be the second-largest foreign direct investment in Louisiana by a company based in mainland China following the $1.85 billion methanol complex under development by Yuhuang Chemical in St. James Parish.
“Today’s announcement of Wanhua Chemical’s decision to select Louisiana is a testament to the strength of Louisiana’s business climate and unmatched transportation logistics,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “Our highly skilled workforce, our natural resources and our world-class infrastructure allow companies like Wanhua to make significant investments in our state and create great new jobs while strengthening their competitive edge.”
The facility is expected to be a major component of Wanhua’s global development of MDI. An intermediate chemical, MDI is among the fastest-growing categories of chemical production, the company said. It is used for polyurethane foams and elastomers, with applications in such consumer areas as appliances, electronics, furniture, textiles and footwear. MDI also is used in the development of rollers, packing, vibration insulators and synthetic leather for various industries.