Sempra Energy holds open house in Sulphur

By By Frank DiCesare / American Press

One of Southwest Louisiana’s largest LNG plants is looking to expand and it will take thousands of people to help make it


It was one of the many reasons why more

than 50 people came to the Holiday Inn in Sulphur yesterday for a look

at Sempra Energy’s

plans to expand its Cameron LNG plant in Hackberry into an export


Representatives from Sempra and Sowela were on hand to field employment and training questions from guests. Sempra’s $7 billion

liquefaction project is expected to break ground next summer, and the company is seeking qualified people in construction,

plant engineering, operations and maintenance.

“This is Sempra’s way of keeping the

community aware of what we are doing,” said Mark Nelson, regional vice

president for

Sempra Energy. “But with this open house we want to put particular

emphasis on the construction schedule and the employment

opportunities that will surface as part of this investment.”

Anna Daigle, Sowela’s director of financial aid, said the school wants to educate the community on its programs for students

who will be looking for work at plants like Cameron LNG.

“We have plenty of students in p-tech, industrial instrumentation, and welding,” she said. “From A to Z we’re going to educate

those students and get them jobs.”

Cameron’s plant expansion will consist of three trains, each of which will produce about 12 million tons of LNG per year for

export. The trains will take about four years to build. Work on Cameron LNG is scheduled to end in 2018.

J.C. Thomas, director of external

affairs for Sempra Energy, said the company will have a pressing need

for operators once

the facility’s expansion is operational. He added that while

education and prior experience will be key to employment at Cameron,

Sempra will train new hires to make sure they know how to use

their equipment.

“It’s not a job for everybody, but it’s

a highly-paid, highly-sought-after position that companies like ours

and others will

be looking to fill in the next three or four years,” Thomas said.

“There’s a lot of effort that goes into moving natural gas,

converting it from a gas to a liquid and putting it on a ship and

sending it out into the world.”

Thomas added that Sempra will be looking to hire locally.

“We want to make sure we hire local contractors where we can,” he said. “We also hope that the small businesses in Louisiana

will benefit from this project.”