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GTL Americas hires contractor for $3.5 billion industrial project near Pine Bluff

An evening view of the Exxon Mobil oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Baton Rouge, La.
John W. Poole
/
NPR
An evening view of the Exxon Mobil oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Baton Rouge, La.

A company that intends to produce 1.7 million gallons of environmentally-friendlier motor fuel has selected a contractor to build a massive facility 13 miles north of Pine Bluff in Jefferson County. GTL Americas (GTLA) has entered into an agreement with Hyundai ENG America, Inc. (Hyundai), to start work on the design and construction of the facility which will sit on an 1,800-acre swath.

Construction on the project could begin within 18 months and the four-phase project could be completed sometime in 2029. The original price of the facility, which will employ 225 workers, was $3.5 billion, making it the largest industrial project in Arkansas’ history. Company officials believe the cost could grow in the coming years.

“Our vision is to create a center for excellence for GTL and, in turn, a sustainable economic driver for the state,” said Leon Codron, GTLA president. “This facility will make Arkansas our nation’s leading producer of ultra-clean, high-grade diesel, naphtha and, ultimately, jet fuel.”

GTLA’s project in Jefferson County will convert natural gas into about 1.7 million gallons of ultra-clean transportation fuels per day and 150 MW of carbon-free steam-generated electricity. In addition to the direct jobs, an estimated 2,500 construction jobs will be created during the the construction phase and commissioning period.

“With their wealth of experience, technical expertise and unwavering commitment to safety and excellence, entering into this agreement with Hyundai and S&B was a natural fit,” said Jeff Bigger, GTLA COO. “We look forward to partnering with them to deliver this historic industrial project on time and within budget.”

Once built, it will be the only facility of its kind in the United States, according to GTLA.

Hyndai is collbarating with S&B Engineers and Constructors, Ltd. (S&B), for the facility’s Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) and Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning (EPCC) on the project.

The project is led by Energy Security Partners (the project developer), Hanwha Petrochemicals from Korea, and the Arkansas Teachers Retirement Funds, according to the company.

Product marketing and distribution of the clean fuels from this plant will be by truck, rail, and marine barge and will have the ability to connect to a product pipeline to supply customers both regionally as well as markets throughout the U.S. and internationally.

Arkansas was chosen as the site for the facility due to the fact it is outside the hurricane zone, has access to railroads, interstate highways, airports, and is in the middle of the country.