Jun 15, 2006 State of Louisiana

Governor announces coal gasification plant in Ascension Parish
Total capital investment $5 billion, 1200 permanent jobs in South and North Louisiana

Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco today announced that Synfuel, Inc. is proposing to build a major coal gasification plant in Ascension Parish. The proposed new facility will use lignite Y from north Louisiana as a primary raw material to produce gasoline, ethanol, synthetic gas, electricity, steam and methanol. Synfuel's total capital investment once the project is complete is expected to be more than $5 billion.

The proposed project is expected to create up to 900 permanent jobs at the Ascension Parish facility and another 300 permanent jobs in the four-parish mining area of north Louisiana.

"This is an exciting project that will help stabilize feedstock costs for existing petrochemical facilities in the area that have been struggling in recent years with high natural gas prices," said Governor Blanco. "The facility, when permitted, will help protect existing jobs within the petrochemical industry and create new and excitin! g economic growth opportunities in Louisiana."

Construction of the proposed project would begin when the appropriate regulatory permits are obtained and is expected to take four years to complete. When operational, the plant will process 20 million tons annually of lignite from Bienville, DeSoto, Natchitoches and Red River parishes to produce gasoline, LPG, synthetic gas, methanol, ethanol, sulfuric acid and agglomerate, a road construction material. The facility will also produce steam and electricity for co-generation opportunities. Chemtura, BASF, Rubicon and other Ascension Parish manufacturing facilities have expressed interest in purchasing feedstocks and power from the proposed new plant.

"In the first 10 years of operation, this project will generate more than $3 billion in purchases of goods and services in Louisiana and nearly $300 million in state and local taxes," said Mike Olivier, Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development (LED). "Th! e anticipated economic impact is enormous."

According to a preliminary analysis by LED, in addition to the direct jobs, the gasification plant in Ascension Parish will generate more than 2,500 indirect jobs. Similarly, lignite mining in north Louisiana will create more than 800 indirect jobs. Adding direct and indirect employment impacts, some 3,300 jobs can be attributed to the proposed project.

"The processes and technologies we will use are being introduced in Louisiana for the first time," said Dr. Paul Liu of Synfuel, Inc.

Dr. Liu noted that the technology and engineering team with project development responsibility includes the elite among energy and mining companies. For example, the project's gasification and syngas purification systems will be provided by GE Energy. The technology for methanol synthesis and sulfuric acid will come from Haldor Topsoe, and ExxonMobil will provide the methanol to gasoline know-how. North American Coal Company will conduct the lignite reserve study and develop the mining plan.

Dr. Liu added that Synfuel considers environmental protection a top priority and will work closely with federal, state and local authorities to ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements. He noted that thorough front-end project engineering and design work and environmental analyses will help ensure optimal safety and operational performance.

"Today's public announcement is the first step in a long but exciting process," concluded Blanco. "I am encouraging Synfuel to work closely with the affected communities in north and south Louisiana to make this proposed project a reality."


2006/6/16 The Times-Picayune

$5 billion energy plant unveiled
Ambitious project slated for Louisiana

Gov. Kathleen Blanco made the announcement with
Synfuel chief "Paul" Hsin Liu, an American plasma physics expert with Chinese business connections who in the past year has pulled together an international group of companies to shape the ambitious project. With natural gas and other fuel prices soaring, coal can be turned into gas and fuel products at a competitive price that will appeal to major chemical companies for feedstocks and power generation, according to Liu's plan.

The investors include UBS, Citigroup and JPMorgan, some of the biggest names in industrial finance. Louisiana institutions are also among the investors, but Liu would not identify them.