2 new natural gas facilities proposed for Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two companies are looking at building large facilities along the Mississippi River south of New Orleans where they can export natural gas to the world market, another sign of the expanding footprint of the natural gas industry in Louisiana.

Until now, the area around Lake Charles has been the center of a boom in the market to import and export natural gas with 10 projects in various stages of development there. Two large facilities — Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG and Sempra Energy’s Cameron LNG — are under construction. Cheniere plans to make its first overseas shipment of LNG in January.

Now companies are looking to Plaquemines Parish as an alternative hub.

Venture Global LNG, a Washington, D.C.-based energy firm, wants to build a large facility near Pointe-a-la-Hache on the west bank of the Mississippi River while Louisiana LNG Energy LLC. is working to construct a smaller facility on the east bank of the river near Davant. Louisiana LNG is a Houston-based venture.

The projects in Plaquemines are an outgrowth of the nation’s boom in natural gas production that has resulted from developments in hydraulic fracturing to reach gas stored deep inside the earth. Natural gas is then turned into liquid form and exported by ship.

“We’ve got a lot of LNG available or coming available,” said Eric Smith, associate director of the Tulane University Energy Institute.

Michael Powell, a Plaquemines spokesman, said the two companies have held meetings to gain public support. He said there is no opposition from the parish to either project.

Both companies have submitted applications for permits to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the past year. The agency must give them approval before they can move forward.

The Venture Global facility would be built on 632 acres and the Louisiana LNG site would be 190 acres in size, according to company documents.

Both Plaquemines facilities would tap into existing natural gas pipelines and ship liquefied natural gas overseas, the companies said.

Venture said its facility, to be built in phases, ultimately would be capable to exporting 20 million metric tons a year. Louisiana LNG said its facility would be capable of exporting 6 million metric tons annually.

Both facilities hope to begin operations in 2020, according to company documents.

“The need for liquefied natural gas continues to grow,” said Jimmy Staton, an executive vice president with Venture. He said the company hopes to export to European and Asian markets.

Venture Global said its facility would be built on land leased to it by the Plaquemines Port Harbor & Terminal District.

Venture Global LNG project applauded by local officials

A Federal Energy Regulatory Agency scoping meeting on the proposed Venture Global (VG) Plaquemines LNG project was held last week in Belle Chasse and was unanimously supported by political and civic leaders in attendance.

Councilwoman Audrey Trufant-Salvant, who represents the district where the liquid natural gas processing facility will be located, praised the company’s community involvement, investment in the community, and the employment opportunities being created.

“It’s about the jobs,” she said. VG plans to hire as many local people as possible to eventually fill the 300 permanent positions expected when the two planned phases of construction are complete.
Parish President Amos Cormier also spoke in support of the project and its job creation. “These will be stable, good-paying jobs – the kind of jobs I know are crucial to a strengthened economy in the long term for Plaquemines,” he said. Cormier also noted the 1,500 construction jobs the project will create will be a great boost for the local economy.

Plaquemines Parish Port and Harbor Terminal District Executive Director Sandy Sanders complemented the VG team on their positive interaction with the port and the residents of the parish, and their impact on the world. “VG’s team has been great to work with. Can you imagine, they will be producing a product of liquefied natural gas right here in Plaquemines. It’s a clean and efficient fuel, which will be exported around the world to countries which do not have natural gas and are burning coal,” Sanders said.

Plaquemines Association of Business and Industry (PABI) Chairwoman Denise Buford said the community is ready for a major project like VG to help diversify the economy. “I’ve met with many community leaders in recent months, and a common theme was the necessity of Plaquemines Parish not relying on just one industry. I believe that Plaquemines LNG will bring a new, dynamic industry to our parish,” she said.

Perhaps the most supportive comment came from Ryan Bourriaque, Parish Administrator for Cameron Parish. Bourriaque said he worked closely with VG on a Cameron Parish Project for over two years, and he praised the company’s commitment to the community and their attention to any concerns which have arisen. “They are professionals with a lot of experience and have been transparent with the community every step of the way,” he said.

Construction will begin in 2017 and production is expected to commence in 2020. When in full operation with both phases, 20 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas will be produced annually and shipped from three tanker berths to be constructed in the Mississippi River.

The purpose of the FERC hearing was to garner comments, whether in support or addressing concerns of the proposed VG project. The comment period will remain open until November 4, 2015 and comments may be submitted online at www.FERC. gov. Written comments will be given the same consideration as comments from the hearing. The VG Plaquemines project reference number is Docket No. PF15-27-000.

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