New refinery approved for southwest Louisiana

New Refinery in Oakdale
(Source: Justice of the Peace Court)
(Source: Justice of the Peace Court)

ALLEN PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Southwest Louisiana will soon be making room for a new refinery.

The Allen Parish Police Jury gave its approval to a Texas company to build a new refinery in Oakdale.

Dozens of acres of land in Oakdale have been sitting almost completely vacant for the past decade.

It used to house the Arizona Chemical Plant, but it closed shop back in 2001.

Since then, Allen Parish acquired the land and has been trying to develop it. That's when Virtual Engineering Operations came in the picture.

Refineries supply thousands of jobs for south west Louisiana residents, and hopefully within the next two years a new refinery in the Oakdale area will provide even more. After years of trying to develop the old Arizona Chemical site land, the Allen Parish Police Jury approved a lease Monday night to finally begin development. District attorney Todd Nesom serves as the attorney for the police jury.

"I became involved when Dr. Jim Sandifer, who is the head of the economic development board for Allen Parish, entered negotiations with VEOPS which is virtual engineering operations out of Kingswood, Texas," said Nesom.

The refinery will cost around 100 million dollars and will be completed in two parts.

"The initial plan is to build a 20,000 barrel a day refinery," said Nesom. "That's phase one. Then after that, it's going to start phase two which is to add another 20,000 barrel a day refinery."

VEEOPS president Craig Harrington says the refinery will make life easier for residents in the area.

"We got a lot in mind, plans for the site," said Harrington. "A lot of people having to drive 60 miles to work, one way with the gas prices and everything else. It's a lot more feasible to stay home and work from home in a local area."

During construction the refinery will provide around 200 construction jobs, and once completed there will be between 35 and 40 permanent jobs. Nesom says that's something the parish needs.

The construction of the new refinery in Oakdale will hopefully begin within the next three months. Once the construction is started, it's expected to take about 18 months to complete the project.

While the refinery will provide in house jobs, other industries will also feel an economic boost. The refinery will process goods in and out by rail, trucking and a proposed 60 mile pipeline.

"We'll be delivering the products and servicing Alexandria, Lake Charles and Lafayette with jet fuel and diesel and other products," said Harrington.

Harrington is actually an Oakdale native.

He will be in town with several workers to begin surveying the land next week.

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