The local economy may not be as strong as it was 10 years ago.
But if you read the tea leaves and take an informative look into the future, it’s easy to see that companies are not spooked. They’re still willing to invest big-time money into the future of Port Fourchon.
Last year, news broke that Energy World was devoting almost $900 million in capital to fund an LNG plant in Port Fourchon – a decision that was lauded by port officials and called a game changer, another sign of long-term investment into the port’s future.
A few weeks ago at a luncheon for the South Central Industrial Association, Christopher Pope with Energy World was the guest speaker and he gave an update on the project, which is expected to add jobs to a local economy that is in need of them – with unemployment numbers as low as they’ve been for quite some time.
“This is going to be a good thing. This is going to be something that we can be proud of,” Pope said. “We are going to be investing in your local economy and hiring your local hands. We think this is something that will be a benefit to everyone involved.”
Port officials agree.
When plans for the project were announced last year, port officials expressed strong optimism for its future, while also praising Energy World for its investment into Port Fourchon’s future.
Chett Chiasson, the executive director of Port Fourchon, has talked about the project multiple times on record in the past several months, saying that it’s a sign that Fourchon is out in front of the industry’s trends and changes.
“We welcome this critical milestone for the Fourchon LNG project by our tenant Energy World and we are excited to have the opportunity to add their proposed facility and its services to Fourchon’s diverse and extensive list of offerings,” Chiasson said. “We are looking forward to working with Energy World and our community to move forward through the regulatory process and keep Port Fourchon at the forefront of the oil and gas service industry.”
The LNG facility will be constructed on 150 acres of port-owned land which is located just outside of other developments at the port.
The developer of the project is Fourchon LNG LLC, which is a newly established project company owned by Energy World USA Inc., the parent company.
At the SCIA luncheon, Pope explained exactly what the plant will do and exactly how it will benefit locals. He said the plant’s aim will be to cool methane down to a liquid, which condenses it and allows it to be moved easier than when it’s a gas.
From there, the methane will be able to be shipped around the country at cheaper rates than it currently is now.
The project has a price tag of $888 million right now, which would make it the single largest economic investment in the history of Lafourche Parish for a single project. Pope said Energy World’s plan is to occupy the space it’s creating for more than two decades.
He said in addition to the hiring of local workers to operate the facility, companies in need of LNG can also benefit by purchasing from Energy World at the discounted rate they’ll be creating by condensing the gas to a liquid.
The goal long-term is to help create market balance in the industry by increasing the amount of LNG that is exported out of the United States and into other places around the globe.
“There is a lot of science involved and a lot of things that go into this process,” Pope said. “But there are many economic benefits and there are many reasons to be excited. We take pride in knowing that our investment is in a community that’s filled with as many fine folks as yourselves – good, hard-working people.”
The project is still in its infancy and completion is not expected until 2021, if not later. But the excitement is there from both sides and the consensus is that completion will be huge for our area – some much-needed good news in an industry that’s not gotten a lot of it over the past several years.
“Energy World is pleased to commence our first US-based project by kicking off the formal regulatory process with FERC following over two decades of sustainable, safe and timely delivery of similar projects in sensitive environments across the globe,” said Steward Elliott, the Managing Director of Energy World International. “We look forward to incorporating the LNG produced at Port Fourchon into our global supply chain to fuel our own gas-fired power plants right across the Asia-Pacific region as well as providing a clean, green source of fuel for the next generation of U.S. marine vessels. Additionally, we hope to export to Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, where Energy World is separately proposing to develop an LNG hub terminal and gas-fired power plans consistent with our goal of developing clean and affordable electricity to developing countries on a global platform.” •