LNG project moving along at swift pace

By By John Guidroz / American Press

The president of Magnolia LNG updated

Lake Charles Port Board members Wednesday on the company’s estimated

$3.5 billion liquefied

natural gas project and presented a check to extend the company’s

lease with the port for a year.

Maurice Brand said the midscale LNG

project is expected to produce up to 70 permanent jobs, 175 indirect

jobs and 1,000 construction

jobs. The facility, construction of which is expected to begin in

the spring of 2015, will be on port property along the Industrial

Canal.

“The speed of this project has been quite sensational,” Brand said.

He said the facility will be about 30 percent more efficient than other LNG plants, using 6 percent to 8 percent of gas instead

of the typical 9 percent to 10 percent.

“This will set the benchmark for new developments in LNG industry,” he said.

Brand said the project’s investment jumped from an initial $2.2 billion because of a heightened level of interest. He touted

the support of officials like U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, Southwest Louisiana

state lawmakers, and local officials.

“We’ve decided that we will go and spend the extra $1.3 billion, and that really is the cost of two extra LNG trains,” he

said.

Brand said he plans to visit the board sometime next year to sign a 30-year lease agreement.

Clean energy

The board also approved a resolution saying it will take the necessary steps to acquire about 80 acres of vacant property

needed to move the $2.6 billion Lake Charles Clean Energy project forward.

Mike Dees, the port’s legal counsel,

said the owners of the property include “more than 30 or 40 different

individuals scattered

across the country.” This makes it difficult to voluntarily

acquire the land, which would be used to store the methanol produced

at the Lake Charles Clean Energy plant. The board in August agreed

to handle and store methanol for Lake Charles Clean Energy.

“We have been in touch with the current owners by letter, and they are aware of our interest in the property,” Dees said.

He said one property owner “who had a

substantial interest” rejected an offer last year to voluntarily acquire

the property.

Since then, he said the port has completed two environmental

studies and another appraisal. Dees said another offer will be

submitted to the property owners.

The project is expected to generate

1,500 construction jobs and 200 permanent jobs. The facility will be

built along the Calcasieu

Ship Channel near the Citgo refinery.

Saltwater barrier

The board also approved spending $50,000 per year for three years to extend the operating hours of the Calcasieu Saltwater

Barrier.

Under the agreement, the port, the

Calcasieu Police Jury, the city of Lake Charles and the Calcasieu

Sheriff’s Office would

each pay a portion of the $150,000 needed per year to have the

barrier open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 6 a.m.-midnight

Friday and Saturday. The barrier is now open 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

The Police Jury — which agreed last week to pay its share of the cost — would also pay $50,000 per year, while the city and

Sheriff’s Office would each pay $25,000 annually.

The Army Corps of Engineers reduced shift hours at the barrier from 16 to 12 hours after a drop in federal funding to the

Inland Marine Transportation System.