County grants Golden Pass tax abatement

Published 6:21 pm Friday, June 12, 2015

First of three 10-year agreements seeks to aid expansion

The Jefferson County Commissioners’ Court approved the first of three planned 10-year tax abatements for Golden Pass Products, LLC.

Each 100 percent tax abatement will coincide with the construction of three liquefaction process trains — with one abatement to complement each of the three $3.5 billion train projects — at the Golden Pass LNG facility in Sabine Pass, Fred Jackson, assistant to Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick, said.

“The construction starts on each train at a different time, so the abatements will commence with each round,” Jackson said Friday. “But these are still separate abatements, separate agreements, with different starting and ending dates.”

Jackson said Golden Pass Products agreed to the county’s standard model abatement agreement, which includes a requirement to “buy local and hire locally as much as possible, and to benefit our local economy.”

Michael “Shane” Sinegal, Jefferson County Commissioner for Precinct 3, said his biggest concern for any of the county’s tax abatement agreements is to ensure local businesses have a chance to secure projects.

“My job is to make sure our minority needs are met,” Sinegal said Friday. “I want to make sure our local woman-owned, minority and underutilized businesses have a fair opportunity to bid for these jobs and to secure some of the work. We must emphasize the importance of growing our small, minority businesses — because if we don’t, no one else will.”

Jackson said the county has a history of providing abatements for similar expansion projects, which has allowed Jefferson County residents to prosper.

“The incentive is absolutely to let the company save their property taxes, because we’re in competition with other areas for these large projects,” he said. “We’re not the only show in town, so to speak. But we’re very fortunate for the industry and the expansion we have right now. Because of what we’re doing in Beaumont and Port Arthur, by offering (abatements) we’re one of the Top 10 regions for employment.”

Jackson said the three liquefaction process trains would bring an additional 60 permanent jobs to the Sabine Pass facility, as well as more than 1,500 construction jobs while the trains are being built.

The addition of three trains is part of Golden Pass’ plan to add exporting capabilities to the existing Golden Pass LNG import facility in Sabine Pass. Golden Pass Products, the export project, formally filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in July 2014 and is still waiting for FERC approval before construction can begin, Jackson said.

For more information about Golden Pass Products, visit www.goldenpassproducts.com.

Twitter: @crhenderson90