Durant will soon be the North American headquarters for international industrial firm Tubacex Group.


The company, which operates out of Llodio, Spain, has begun construction of its new 150,000-square-foot facility, which will house 140 employees with an average wage of $55,000. The plant is expected to be operational by the end of this year. Tubacex manufactures various tubing products used in the oil, aerospace and nuclear industries.


Durant Industrial Authority Interim Executive Director Paul Buntz said the project has taken over a year to complete. He said the firm is receiving a number of incentives from the state of Oklahoma as well as tax abatements and local grants to help with infrastructure costs and tax abatements.


“It continues our momentum of having a skilled labor force and good jobs in Durant,” Buntz said. “We’re excited to have them come to Durant. We spent a lot of time looking at the needs of the company.”


Buntz said Durant was chosen because of its proximity to the oil industry in Texas. He said it is another example of the growing industrial sector in Durant. Buntz said in addition to this new plant, nearly 200 other jobs have been added from new manufacturing jobs in the last two years.


One of the benefits Buntz said Tubacex brings is it will help raise the average wage in both Durant and Bryan County.


“Southeastern Oklahoma has been relatively low wages,” Buntz said. “We are trying to bring better paying jobs to this area.” He added the wage range from all the new plants has been between $45,000 and $65,000 which he said has been a help in increasing the average wage in the county.


Durant Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Janet Reed said the Tubacex plant will be a “great addition to our community.” She said the city is expecting the firm to boost its sales tax revenue with the new jobs.


“Durant has been seeing a tremendous amount of movement in the industrial segment for the last 15 years,” Reed said. “A lot of people had said it has slowed but it has been going strong. Tubacex is building, other firms are looking at other pieces of property. We continue to grow and industry continues to come in — we are looking at other projects in the near future.”


In addition to Tubacex, Reed said there is a UPS shipping facility that will be opening in the near future. The Chamber director said there has been a strong interest in the area from companies from overseas. Reed said the U.S. as a whole has become more attractive to bringing those industries in and what makes Durant stand out is its proximity to the rest of the country, with easy access to the Midwest, coastal states and Texas.


“We think we will see continued growth in Durant and hopefully continue to prosper as we have in the past, not only with industrial growth but with retail growth as well,” Reed said.


Herald Democrat reporter Richard A. Todd can be contacted at rtodd@heralddemocrat.com.