BASF announced Friday that is evaluating an investment in a world-scale methane-to-propylene complex on the Gulf Coast.
This would be the chemical company's largest single-plant investment to date.
"(This) would allow BASF to take advantage of low gas prices due to U.S. shale gas production and considerably improve its cost position," said Hans Engel, chairman and chief executive officer.
The company already has a large footprint in Louisiana. The four BASF sites between New Orleans and Baton Rouge employ nearly 2,000 employees and contractors.
Propylene is one of the most important basic chemicals in the petrochemical industry. It's used in the production of a wide range of higher-value chemicals.
These chemicals are used to manufacture products such as coatings, detergents or superabsorbent polymers for baby diapers.
BASF estimates the new plant would cost about $1.4 billion.
Experts say natural gas is about three times cheaper in the United States than in Europe. That is attributed to increased offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and fracking operations in the Haynesville Shale in north and central Louisiana.
BASF is still in the early stages of planning for the new plant. Details on the potential investment, including the capacity of the plant, investment amount and exact location are currently under evaluation.