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Growth explodes: Energy projects push SE Texas, La. growth

This region expects some $200 billion in investment within a 60-mile radius, Travis Woods, general manager of T&L Solutions said Wednesday, and local contractors want their share of the prospective business.

Woods, who chairs the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce’s Contractor’s Business Development Group, spoke with about 100 contractors and company representatives at Lamar State College Port Arthur.

The “hot spots,” he said, are mostly in energy or energy-related businesses.

Woods said five businesses are planning projects that will require more than 20,000 employees to complete. Those projects include Golden Pass LNG, which is transforming its site near Sabine Pass into an liquefied natural gas export facility; Sempra LNG, which is in the planning and permitting stages for Port Arthur LNG, which will also locate near Sabine Pass; Exxon Mobil, which is expanding operations in Beaumont; Total, which is building an ethane cracker at its Port Arthur plant; and Valero, which is building a cracker unit in Port Arthur.

“This is just some of the $200 billion (in investments) between here and Lake Charles and Cameron Parish,” Woods said following the hourlong contractors meeting. The Port Arthur contractors group has signed contracts valued at about $140 million.

Golden Pass, he said, “is hauling dirt right now. ExxonMobil is moving dirt. Total peaks for labor needs next year. We’ve talked with the project manager at Valero and they are on track.”

He said Port Arthur LNG is “on track,” too, for its multi-billion-dollar project, although it is still working its way down the required checklist before it can decide to build.

In addition to those major producers, he said, there is $24 billion in pipeline construction planned or underway to go to or through Southeast Texas.

“Those LNG projects need pipelines to get natural gas,” he said. “That’s their feedstock.”

Travis told the contractors that other, related construction, such as Motiva Enterprises’ $150 million investment in office space downtown, is also boosting area economic prospects.