Austrian-headquartered Benteler Steel is in the process of constructing a $975 million steel plant in Caddo Parish, La. The two-year project has created 1,000 construction jobs and is currently one of the largest projects in the state.

Matthias Jaeger, President and CEO of Benteler Steel/Tube GmbH, says the project is being constructed in two phases on a 330-acre site. The first, which is expected to be finished in late 2015, is the construction of a hot rolling tube mill, along with several finishing lines, for the production of seamless steel tubes. The second phase, to be started later and completed in 2020, involves constructing an electric arc furnace for producing high-quality steel on-site. The finished facility will span more than 1.35 million sq ft with the capacity to produce up to 320,000 tonnes of steel tubes annually.

The site in Caddo Parish was chosen from more than 100 candidates in 13 states. It was selected for its proximity and access to energy customers and the concentration of a qualified workforce.

"With more than 25% of our steel/tube products already flowing into the United States, and with demand expected to increase, this new [plant] is poised to play a critical role in supporting the U.S. domestic energy industry," says Jaeger.

Walbridge of Detroit, Mich., is serving as the general contractor under a design-build-at-risk contract. The contract includes all facility construction for the mills, an administrative building, a central maintenance lab, storage areas and utility buildings. Walbridge is also installing all onsite roads and railroad lines for the new facility.

The project broke ground in September 2013 and is expected to be completed in late-2015.

Bentler is also helping fund the construction of a $22 million training center at Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier City. The 65,000-sq-ft facility will feature training labs that mimic the forthcoming Benteler facility along with classrooms designed to support the construction and manufacturing curriculum.