The message: Success close enough to touch

Published 8:51 am Monday, May 14, 2018


Hold your tales of woe.

That’s what Travis Woods, an industrial consultant with long experience in Southeast Texas, might tell you.

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There are jobs here, good ones. There are more coming.

Woods suggested as much to a high-flying friend in Washington, a Fox News type, and the friend passed his email message along to Donald Trump. The next day, Trump was echoing the good news from Southeast Texas that confirms that this country — at least this part of this country — is great again.

That’s a message worth remembering and maybe repeating, especially for those who too often see the glass half-empty. If you don’t like the words, consider the numbers:

  • Sasol in Westlake, Louisiana is nearing completion of part one of a $14 billion investment.
  • ExxonMobil may spend $20 billion on expansions in Beaumont and Baytown.
  • Put $10 billion on top of that for construction of a new refinery in Corpus Christi.
  • Cameron LNG across the Sabine is looking at a $12 billion project.
  • Motiva is pondering between $18-$36 billion of investment, perhaps much of it in Port Arthur.
  • Sempra will build Port Arthur LNG near Sabine Pass.
  • Golden Pass is preparing to export LNG near Sabine Pass.

Add some more billions.

For Greater Port Arthur and Mid County and its people, that means jobs and more jobs — construction jobs of some duration, and a few high-pay permanent jobs on top of those. That was the message Woods shared Thursday with the Port Arthur Rotary Club.

It also means more supporting businesses — temporary housing and transportation for workers, food for workers. Each construction site spawns its own, short-term city, with workforces that number in the thousands: 5,000, 8,000, 10,000. They’ve seen it all over nearby Cameron Parish.

It means pipelines to move oil and gas and expanded ports and docks.

It means opportunities for men and women here to gain training and skills in short-term or two-year programs at Lamar State College Port Arthur, Lamar Institute of Technology, or, across the water, at SOWELA in Lake Charles that will start them on successful careers.

It means a nation and world that depends upon this region as a lasting, vital source of energy and petrochemicals that promote industry in our own country and around the globe.

It’s not easy to see the successes deep in the woods and marshes of Cameron Parish. It’s not easy to envision the successes that Golden Pass and Sempra might become. But we can gaze across the Sabine and see it on the neighboring shore at Cheniere, almost close enough to touch.

We can see the success in massive ships that carry LNG exports to Japan and Europe.

That’s our success, Woods suggests, if we embrace the possibilities and prepare ourselves for them.