Port of Lake Charles board members agreed on Monday to extend its real estate lease option agreement with Lake Charles Methanol by six months to give the company more time to get its financing in order.
The $4.4 billion clean energy facility would produce methanol using petroleum coke, a byproduct of oil refining. It would store carbon dioxide emissions underground in Texas.
The option gives Lake Charles Methanol the availability to move into a long-term lease with the port. The company needs a projected four months to reach financial close.
Port Director Bill Rase said the project will be located next to Bulk Terminal 1, the port's largest revenue driver. He said Lake Charles Methanol has "finally gotten some legs under their financing" of the project.
Mike Eason, port board member, thanked port staff for staying focused on the project. It is expected to generate 1,000 construction jobs and 250 permanent jobs.
"They kept their eye on the ball," he said. "I think we're getting real close."
Rase said Lake Charles Methanol has done significant restructuring to make the project fundable by the equity firms that look at similar megaprojects.
"With this extension, they will be able to move forward, and I think we'll end up with a project that not only helps the community, but it'll help the port," Rase said.
Board President David Darbone said the project "really means a lot to Lake Charles."
"They're really close to financing the whole deal," he said.