$9.4bn plastics factory on hold until Covid “subsides” or vaccine is found

Major construction on the "Sunshine Project", a $9.4bn petrochemical industrial complex planned for Louisiana, has been put on hold until Covid-19 has subsided or a vaccine has been found, the company developing it said this week.

"The widespread impacts of a global pandemic, including the challenge it creates in evaluating construction costs and the restrictions it has placed on international travel, are being felt across all industries and businesses," said Janile Parks, director of community and government relations at the company, FG LA LLC, a member of the Taiwanese conglomerate, Formosa Plastics Group.

She made the remarks Monday in a statement to Independent Commodity Intelligence Services.

"As a result, FG has deferred major construction until the pandemic has subsided and/or an effective vaccine is widely available," she added.

The US is currently experiencing what is described as a "third surge" of the pandemic, with an average of 59,000 new cases a day during the past week, the most since the beginning of August.

FG has obtained all necessary permits for the complex, located on the Mississippi River, and site preparation is underway.

The company said preparations would continue, including a highway expansion, utility relocations, soil testing, test piling and the removal of a pipeline.

But "major construction" would "proceed dependent on several factors", Janile Parks said.

Some 8,000 people were to be working on the plant at peak construction. 

Located in St. James Parish, the complex was to produce polyethylene, polypropylene, polymer and ethylene glycol, necessary ingredients in many everyday products.

Image: FG LA LLC’s map locating the Sunshine Project on the Mississippi River in St. James Parish, Louisiana

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