LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Plains Exploration & Production Co. is building a $20 million facility in Broussard to support deep-water Gulf of Mexico oil and gas operations.

The Lafayette Economic Development Authority and company officials said the new project comes after PXP's decision last year to pay $5.5 billion for oil company BP's interest in several deep-water oil and gas fields in the Gulf.

LEDA President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux said the Houston-based PXP already employs about 220 people in the Lafayette area and plans to add about 400 new direct and contract jobs over the next five years, The Advocate reports.The company also has operations onshore and offshore in California, in the Rocky Mountains and in Gulf region shale finds.

"They want to use Lafayette as their point of presence for deep-water," Gothreaux said.

In a written statement, Doss Bourgeois, PXP's executive vice-president of exploration and production, said, "We are committed to the Lafayette area for the long term."

The company's planned 120,000-square-foot warehouse will be used to store parts and equipment for offshore work.

PXP also is building an 8,000-square-foot office and conference room facility at the site.

Gothreaux said the facility is scheduled to be finished by September.

Broussard Mayor Charles Langlinais said the city will soon begin working with PXP to provide any needed infrastructure for the new facility.

"It's another tool in the quiver for economic development," he said.

Gothreaux made the PXP announcement Thursday during his annual "State of the Economy" speech, held this year at the Cajundome Convention Center.