LINCOLN — An economic win-win is coming to the northeast Nebraska city of Norfolk.
On Thursday, Gov. Dave Heineman announced that Houston-based Tejas Tubular Products Inc. has picked a site in Norfolk to build a new manufacturing facility that will employ 200 workers.
Tejas makes casing, drill pipe and line pipe used in oil fracking. Its plant will be near the Nucor Steel Bar Mill, which will supply more than 150,000 tons of steel a year to the plant.
As part of the project, Black Hills Energy announced that it will be building a new natural gas pipeline to Norfolk, increasing capacity by 50 percent to a community that had lost business prospects because of its limited natural gas supplies.
The governor said the decision by Tejas was an example of how Nebraska “is moving forward as a desired, premiere destination for companies looking to expand and create jobs.”
Construction on Tejas’ 350,000-square-foot plant is to begin this year. Completion is projected by the third quarter of 2015, though some workers will be on the job earlier.
Max Tejeda, the company’s owner, said he had originally looked at locating in South Dakota to be closer to the oil fields of western North Dakota. But he said he was convinced by NuCor officials that Norfolk was the place to locate.
“People make all of the difference,” Tejeda said at a morning press conference. “The amount of support we got was tremendous.”
South Dakota does not levy a personal income tax, unlike Nebraska, but Tejeda said that was not a factor.
A year ago, NuCor was among the Nebraska companies that opposed a proposal by the governor to eliminate sales tax exemptions that benefit businesses. Dirk Petersen, general manager of NuCor Steel Bar Mill, said Thursday that Tejas would not have come to Nebraska if those exemptions had been eliminated.
Tejas Tubular will apply for state tax benefits offered under the Nebraska Advantage Act. In addition, the State of Nebraska is contributing $1.4 million from its Site and Building Development Fund, and the City of Norfolk is providing $3.6 million. Those funds will help finance the new natural gas line and the Tejas project.