Acadiana Business

Forum investing $19 million in manufacturing plant

by Leslie Turk

Forum Energy Technologies' St. Martinville facility will produce onshore and offshore drilling equipment for global customers.

On Wednesday Gov. Bobby Jindal and Houston-based Forum Energy Technologies CEO Cris Gaut announced the company's plans to build a new 150,000-square-foot facility in St. Martin Parish. The facility will produce onshore and offshore drilling equipment for global customers, creating 125 new direct jobs with average annual salaries of more than $45,000, plus benefits.

Forum (NYSE:FET) is making a $19 million capital investment in the plant, which will replace an existing facility in Broussard. The project retains 203 existing jobs, and the Louisiana Department of Economic Development estimates it will create an additional 300 indirect jobs.

"Forum Energy joins a long list of energy companies who are investing in Louisiana because of our world-class energy infrastructure, strong business climate and incomparable workforce," Jindal said in making the announcement.

Forum manufactures a wide spectrum of oil and gas equipment that serves the global energy industry's drilling, production and infrastructure segments. The company has more than 3,300 employees worldwide in 80 business locations.

The state began working with Forum on its expansion plan in April. To secure the project, the state offered an incentive package that includes a performance-based, $700,000 Economic Development Award Program grant to fund drainage infrastructure improvements at the site off U.S. 90, adjacent to the SMEDA Business & Industrial Park. In addition, Forum is expected to utilize incentives from the state's Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

Construction will begin before the end of the year and be completed by fourth quarter 2013. Forum will begin hiring during the construction phase, and all 125 new positions will be hired within five years.