W. R. Grace & Co. and Chevron Products Co. said on Monday that they will invest $135 million to expand Grace's manufacturing facility for refining catalysts in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Advanced Refining Technologies (ART), a joint venture of the two companies, is planning to build a residue hydroprocessing catalyst plant and additional alumina capacity at the site. Construction is planned to start later this year, with completion anticipated in 2018.

"This will be a world-class, world-scale catalysts plant that is responding to strong global demand for ART's industry-leading products for residue upgrading," said Fred Festa, chairman and CEO of Grace.

"We are pleased that this investment with Grace will keep ART and Chevron at the forefront of hydroprocessing catalysis and technology," added Mike Wirth, Chevron executive vice president, Downstream and Chemicals.

Grace's 120-acre site produces fluid cracking catalysts, hydroprocessing catalysts and other intermediates. According to the company, an increasing global push for bottom-of-the-barrel upgrading is leading refiners to invest more in fixed bed resid hydrotreating and ebullating bed resid hydrocracking process technologies.

The new ART plant is intended to meet the increased catalyst requirements for these units, which are licensed and already under construction.

Grace has invested more than $100 million in its Lake Charles facility over the past six years, with upgrades including a new wastewater treatment plant and an expansion to enable increased production of specialty aluminas, a key raw material in fluid cracking and hydroprocessing catalysts.