Chemicals producer Stepan Co. is beginning engineering and design work for a potential $60-70 million chemical production facility to be built in Ascension Parish, LA, to take advantage of the Gulf Coast region’s abundance of natural gas and burgeoning chemicals industry.

Chicago-based Stepan recently authorized feasibility work and will make a final investment decision on the project in the second quarter of 2015, the company said.

Stepan is a global manufacturer of specialty and intermediate chemicals used in a broad range of industries. The company is in property negotiations for a manufacturing site in Ascension Parish, where it would manufacture intermediate chemicals for its global surfactants and polymer production sites, as well as finished products for its global customers.

Spokesman Scott Beamer told NGI the Louisiana site was chosen, in part, due to its proximity to natural gas supplies.

“Stepan appreciates the quality of resources and support available in Louisiana as we complete the feasibility study of our proposed project,” said CEO F. Quinn Stepan Jr. “We look forward to confirmation of our project economics, building a new facility and joining many of our peers, who already enjoy the benefits of the pro-business environment in the state of Louisiana.”

Louisiana has attracted numerous natural gas/ethane-related industrial projects in recent years. The state recently landed a potential methanol manufacturing complex worth about $1.85 billion (see Daily GPI, July 18).