Company eyes Caldwell Parish for $700M renewable diesel refinery


A biofuels company is considering building a $700 million renewable diesel refinery in Caldwell Parish, state and company officials said Friday.

A final investment decision is expected late next year. The plant might begin operating in 2025, and additional Louisiana refineries producing renewable diesel and aviation fuel are possible, officials said.

Kansas-based Strategic Biofuels and its subsidiary, Louisiana Green Fuels, said the plant, based on a 171-acre site at the Port of Columbia, would produce up to 32 million gallons of renewable fuel annually with wood waste as the feedstock.

Officials said Louisiana Green Fuels would make a capital investment of at least $700 million and employ 76 people with an average annual salary of more than $68,000 plus benefits. The median household income in Caldwell Parish is about $38,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Louisiana Economic Development estimated the project indirectly would spur the creation of 412 new jobs, for a total of almost 500 new jobs in Caldwell Parish and the surrounding region. During a 30-month building phase, the project would generate 450 construction jobs, LED said.

Strategic Biofuels has raised 85% of its early-stage financing from investors in north Louisiana, according to the company. The company also will raise money for the project with a $200 million tax-free bond allocation issued through the Louisiana Community Development Authority.

Once the company has made a final investment decision, state officials likely would negotiate an incentive package with the project owners, according to the governor’s office.

“Louisiana Green Fuels is an example of how our state can merge traditional and emerging forms of energy in exciting ways to address climate change,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a prepared statement.

Edwards said the refinery’s diesel would be produced in a “carbon-negative fashion,” removing more carbon from the environment than the refinery produces.

The company has engaged Jena-based Justiss Oil to drill a test well to confirm the integrity of carbon sequestration below the site.

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