Chevron's new billion dollar project stimulates job growth

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - At a time when the unemployment numbers are high and jobs are hard to come by, several South Mississippians were eager to start their first day of work this week on the Chevron Refinery Expansion in Pascagoula. Chevron and KBR construction are hiring people to work on the new billion dollar Base Oil Project.

Laquia Haith and Joel Jackson now have jobs working on Chevron's largest project ever, and they couldn't be more excited.

"Oh my God, God is good and he answers all prayers," Haith said.

Before they were hired for this project, the two said for months they prayed and searched for a good paying position everywhere, with no luck.

"I have four children; bills were piling up," Haith said.

"It kind of made me feel bad. I got a family and my son, just trying to provide for them and coming home with bad news all the time," Jackson said.

Once they got word Chevron needed people to build a $1.4 billion plant, they jumped at the chance to work. The plant, once finished, will produce base oil, which is the main ingredient in just about all lubricants

"Instead of going home and saying bad news, now I can bring home the bacon," Jackson said.

Chevron's Sean Comey said it just goes to show this project is not just helping build the company; it's also bringing badly needed jobs to the community.

"There is going to be about 1,000 construction jobs generated from the beginning through the estimated completion in 2013, and 20 permanent jobs to run the facility once it's done," Comey said.

Comey said those hired will earn solid wages.

"The entry level jobs pay $12 to $14 an hour to start, and the more skills jobs pay more than that," Comey said. "What we are hearing from our new employees is that there are better wages, better benefits and a better future."

Chevron hopes by stimulating job growth, more money could be pumped into the local economy during these tough financial times.

"People have to eat, buy different services and things. So, it has a lot of reach on how impacts, positively impacts our community," Public Affairs Manager Alan Sudduth said.

Construction is scheduled to be completed by 2013. The facility will manufacture 25,000 barrels of premium base oil per day.

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