JeffCo commissioners approve abatement for oil and gas company

Published 5:55 pm Monday, October 24, 2016

BEAUMONT — The GT OminPort facility at Highway 73 near Highway 82 on the old Arco site is slowly springing back to life. The site became available in 2010 as it was an inactive facility at the time.

The Jefferson County Commissioners Court, likewise, approved designating a reinvestment zone there for GT Logistics at their regular meeting on Monday afternoon.

Bart Owens, manager of business development for Howard Energy Partners said this will be a $650 million expansion starting with Phases I and II. GT Logistics is a subsidiary of Howard. Their next-door neighbor will be Zeo Gas — a natural gas company.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Though it’s early in the process, Owens hopes the abatement is for 10 years.

“It’s not spelled out yet,” he said.

Phase I and II consist of a pipeline, tanking and docks. They would eventually like to build a railroad terminal, barge docks, and two deep-water docks.

Representatives with Howard also spoke at the July 12 meeting of the Port Arthur City Council.

The railroad terminal is located on the Union Pacific Railroad line. They have moved one million barrels of oil there in its entirety and they are holding 200,000 barrels of oil with future plans for storing, building, and processing.

The first phase of the project is estimated to cost $200 million and will take from 12 to 16 months to complete. Hopes are to start shipping in January 2018. The second phase of the project will cost $160 million.

There are currently 28 employees working at GT Logistics, recruited from the local community. Five to seven of them are from Port Arthur.

The GT OmniPort is a multi-modal terminal for crude oil and other products transported via rail, ship, barge and truck. The $95 million, 1,100 acre facility neighbors refineries with over one million barrels per day of capacity, multiple chemical and processing plants and is located less than one mile from over four million barrels of petroleum product storage capacity and pipelines currently serving the region.

“We’re proud to be a Port Arthur business,” Owens said. “I’m a Port Arthur guy. There’s lots of good things coming up.”

Prior to Howard, Owens worked for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. He left there in 1998 and worked for Transit Mix Concrete. He said he learned much about business from owner, Mark Stiles.

The business opportunity with GT Logistics became available in 2010 in which he called it “a good one.”

“Port Arthur is about to see some really big growth. These incentives (like tax abatements) make projects work,” Owens said.

Howard Energy Partners (HEP) is a midstream provider with assets in the Eagle Ford Shale region of South Texas, as well as in the Marcellus Shale region in Pennsylvania.

They provide oil and gas producers with a full suite of integrated midstream service from wellhead to market, according to their website.

In other commissioners court business, the commissioners discussed sending out letters to individuals/organizations with events booked at Ford Park before and after March, 31, 2017.

The court recently selected to go with Spectra Venue Management over SMG in managing the facility.

County Judge Jeff Branick said his office has received many telephone calls from nervous people about their events scheduled at Ford Park.

He said the county still has to honor the days of events prior to the change on March 31, 2017.

After that date, all contracts will be placed on the commissioners’ court agendas for consideration and approval.

For instance, the Gift of Life will host their Champagne and Ribs fundraiser in April 2017 and it will be placed on next week’s agenda to deliberate over.

Everette “Bo” Alfred, Precinct 4 commissioner, said he hopes the court will consider a neutral party to negotiate with SMG and Spectra so there are no “hiccups.”

Branick said the most important thing is for people to feel comfortable and for the county to honor contracts.

David Ball: 409-721-2427