LNG Fourchon Making Steady Progress

In 2017, Port Fourchon broke huge local economic news when it announced that Energy World USA was developing a mid-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) production and export facility at the port.

The project came with an $800 million investment — the single largest investment ever made at the port for a single project.

When it was all announced, the port said the project was pending regulations, and that it would take a while before the facility would be complete.

Flash forward to the present and that’s sort of still where things stand, though there’s now a light at the end of the tunnel.

Port Fourchon Executive Director Chett Chiasson said progress has been made on the facility, which will be somewhat of a game changer for the port once complete because it will represent a new type of work being done at the local energy hub.

Chiasson said he hopes we’re about a half-decade away from a fully functioning facility.

“The good news is that it’s still moving forward — albeit slowly moving forward,” he said. “There’s these federal processes that you have to go through and there’s a lot that goes into that and that’s the stage we’re at now. What I can tell you is that there’s work that’s been done and that’s continuing to be done. At the last meeting we had with the owner of the company last month, we were both very pleased because there are some milestones that we believe will be achieved in the upcoming months that we think will really accelerate the project along.”

The “milestones” Chiasson referred to come in planning and approvals from government.

Chiasson said a Waterway Suitability Assessment will be completed sometime in the next six months — a huge hurdle in the process to move from planning to construction.

Once that gets reviewed and approved, there will still be a couple of other legal hurdles, but that Waterway Suitability Assessment will be a major leap forward.

When asked to give a timetable on the completion of the facility, Chiasson said the project will receive full authorization within the next two years — if all continues to go well.

“In that time, we will have a fully authorized project, which would take us to starting construction,” Chiasson said. “You figure another couple of years to construct, so I guess we’re looking at four, maybe five years away from a functioning facility.”

It will be worth the wait.

The LNG facility will change Fourchon’s services. Currently, the port houses tenants that service the oil and gas industry.

But with this, the port will be getting into manufacturing — a whole new animal that Chiasson said he and his colleagues are excited about.

The facility will be owned by Energy World USA, and their mission is to export liquid natural gas around the world.

Energy World builds power plants in countries all around the world and they’ll be using this LNG facility to help fuel those plants — a whole new chapter for the port.

“The LNG produced at Port Fourchon will initially be exported to our own gas-fired power plants right across the Asia-Pacific region and also be sold into U.S. domestic markets for marine applications,” said Stewart Elliott, Chairman and CEO of Energy World Corporation. “Eventually, we hope to export to Jamaica and the wider Caribbean where Energy World is separately proposing to develop a LNG hub terminal and gas-fired power plants consistent with our goal of delivering clean and affordable electricity to developing countries on a global platform.”

Chiasson said there will be “hundreds” of jobs created in the construction phase of the facility with a lot of the work going to locals because they will have the expertise on how to build that type of facility.

Once the facility is in operation, there will be another slew of jobs created, as well.

“We’re looking at 100-130 employees or so once it’s operating,” Chiasson said. “So it’s just a great thing. We’ve very excited. There’s more to be done, but we’re making progress and will continue to do so in the future.” •