Lull in construction graphic

Louisiana has been in the midst of an unprecedented industrial construction boom in recent years, but a lull in activity is causing some concern by contractors. However, the good news is other multi-billion-dollar projects are expected to begin before long.

More than $187.9 billion in industrial construction projects have been announced in Louisiana since 2012, according to a report in The Advocate. Work hasn’t started on $114.9 billion of those projects, and the newspaper said that is encouraging for contractors and construction workers.

Two Lake Charles area companies started production this year, and that has caused some construction job losses. Sasol broke ground in 2015 on its $12.9 billion chemical plant, and the $3 billion Lotte Chemical plant began its construction in 2016. Both are up and running.

The LSU Center for Energy Studies has calculated that there are nearly $20 billion worth of capital expenditures for LNG export projects along the Gulf Coast in 2020. By 2021, total capital expenses for LNG export projects are expected to surpass $30 billion along the Gulf Coast.

The Advocate said LNG export projects are by far the most popular among businesses, but there are also cracker and polymer facilities in addition to methanol or ammonia plants that are also in the pipeline.

Local companies are also benefiting. The newspaper said Sasol spent $4.3 billion with companies in Louisiana out of $12.9 billion total. Two of them are Turner Industries in Baton Rouge and Howell Industries of Sulphur.

Stephen Toups, president of Turner Industries, said, “We have had a focus on the Sasol project in Lake Charles over the past few years and are seeing that work grow under our contract.”

Doug Landry, CEO of Howell Industries, said, “We are now seeing and expect to continue seeing a gradual increase in work as each of the new and expanded facilities are brought online.”

Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG project spent $773 million out of the $18 billion project with Louisiana companies. They used engineering services from the Levingston group; telecommunications hardware from Louisiana Radio Communications; construction services from Rivers Fence Co. alongside Davies Construction; and electrical services from Southside Machine Works.

Venture Global LNG and Commonwealth LNG of Houston are planning facilities in Southwest Louisiana. Venture Global is a $4.25 billion project, and Commonwealth spending $4 billion. Some 3,500 construction jobs are expected to be created on those two projects.

The current lull in construction appears to be an extremely brief one, and there should  be plenty of work on the horizon.

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