Last Modified: Thursday, November 07, 2013 9:48 PM
One of Southwest Louisiana’s largest LNG plants is looking to expand and it will take thousands of people to help make it happen.
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 facility.
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.”