Acadiana Business

Newpark Mats injects $41 million into Carencro economy

by Leslie Turk

Local company doubling its facility and output and creating 35 direct jobs and 71 indirect jobs.

Gov. Bobby Jindal and Newpark Resources Inc. President and CEO Paul Howes traveled to Carencro Thursday to announce that the company will invest $41.1 million in its Newpark Mats and Integrated Services facility, doubling both the size of the facility and its estimated output. The Carencro site manufactures composite mats for drill-site construction and other applications.

LEDA's Gregg Gothreaux says Acadiana is home to more than 1,300 oil-and-gas-related businesses, making the region the hub for energy production and services in the Southeastern U.S. and the Gulf of Mexico.

Locally based Newpark Mats is a division of Newpark Resources, headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas. Newpark employs 270 people in Louisiana.

The project will create 35 new direct jobs, and Louisiana Economic Development estimates the expansion will result in an additional 71 indirect jobs, for a total of 106 new permanent jobs.

Of the $41.1 million capital investment, $3.1 million will be dedicated to a new Research & Development and Technology Center that will create six jobs with an average salary of $80,000, plus benefits. The manufacturing expansion will create 29 jobs with an average salary of $36,600, plus benefits, according to the expansion announcement. Newpark also will retain 55 existing Carencro jobs, and the company estimates the project will create 35 construction jobs.

Newpark says its DURA-BASE interlocking composite mats provide a safe, temporary and environmentally friendly road or work surface. The mats are deployed throughout the oil and gas industry for transportation of heavy drilling equipment and are used in other settings, such as military exercises, utility company work, large events, construction sites, entertainment productions and pipeline projects. The 50,000-square-foot expansion of the Carencro manufacturing facility will allow the company to meet growing demand for its products from domestic and international customers.

LED's Business Expansion and Retention Group, or BERG, says it began discussing the potential project with company officials in June 2013 and partnered with the Lafayette Economic Development Authority to attract the Newpark expansion to Carencro over competing out-of-state sites. Construction of the 50,000-square-foot expansion will begin in January 2014 and be completed by the end of 2015. The company will begin hiring new employees for the expansion early next year.

To secure the project, the state offered Newpark a competitive incentive package that includes a $1.6 million Modernization Tax Credit incentive and the services of LED FastStart - the nation's No. 1-ranked state workforce training program. The company also is expected to utilize the state's Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs and will be eligible for the state's refundable Research & Development Tax Credit.

"With more than 1,300 oil-and-gas-related businesses in Acadiana, the region is the hub for energy production and services in the Southeastern U.S. and the Gulf of Mexico," LEDA President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux said in announcing the expansion. "The addition of Newpark's research and development arm reinforces the region's long-standing commitment to innovation and technology that is rooted in the oil and gas industry."