ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Numerous Shell Oil employees were on hand Tuesday night to address issues about the potential the impact of a proposed gas-to-liquids facility.
"We're really concerned about traffic impact," said one Shell employee.
Residents like John Chappell of Geismar were on hand at Shell's open house to learn more about a proposed super facility that could open shop in his backyard.
"Wanted to see how I would be affected by plant of this magnitude how it would affect the environment, how it would affect people in the community jobs and that nature," said Chappell.
The enormous gas-to-liquids plant would be located on 2,400 acres between Highways 22, 44 and 70 near Sorrento and could ultimately peak at 700 operating jobs. Most signs are pointing to the company building in Ascension Parish, but Cathey acknowledges the real challenge will be lining up all the needed permits which could still be a few years away.
"We've decided if we build in the U.S., it's going to be here in Ascension Parish but there still is a lot that needs to be done," said Michael Cathey is Shell's vice president of Gulf Coast GTL. "If you get a permit for a house you still need to hire your architect and so forth, so there's a lot that needs to be done in that situation and we need to do the same thing."
The wait is well worth it, according to parish Councilwoman Teri Casso, who believes the plant's impact would be a game changer keeping more residents and adding to Ascension's future growth.
"This is a generational project. My children, my children's children would not have to leave here," said Casso. "They can work in Ascension Parish for generations to come if this project actually comes to fruition and I have reason to believe that it will."
Chappell is on board as well and says if the opportunity presents itself, he'll support it any way he can.
"It would help the economy, help this area to grow and I do think it is something we could stand behind," said Chappell.
Shell will continue its Gulf Coast GTL open house tours with stops in St. James Wednesday and in Gonzales on Thursday.