Recent groundbreaking fuels 25K-plus jobs increase across Port Arthur, Southeast Texas
Published 12:40 am Tuesday, April 25, 2023
When Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Pat Avery looks at her spreadsheet of upcoming projects, she counts more than $80 billion that will be spent in Southeast Texas over the next few years.
“All of those projects bring thousands of jobs in just full-time employment, plant operations, administration and all of that,” she said. “And with those projects, you have to multiply that seven or eight times for indirect jobs in our community — new grocery stores, laundromats, gas stations, etcetera.”
On Monday morning, Avery was one of approximately 200 in attendance as Entergy Texas broke ground on the Orange County Advanced Power Station. While already under construction, the plant will combine natural gas and hydrogen to produce 1,215 megawatts of power — enough to service 230,000 additional homes.
Entergy projects the economic impact of the project to reach $1.8 billion and create 7,000 direct and indirect jobs.
The groundbreaking was the second in less than two months, following last month’s news of Golden Triangle Polymers Company on Texas 87 South in Orange. The $8.5 billion joint project between Chevron Phillips Chemical and Qatar Energy is under construction and expected to be completed in 2026. Golden Triangle Polymers estimates providing 4,500 jobs at peak construction.
Also in March, Sempra Infrastructure announced it had reached a final investment decision to begin work on Port Arthur LNG.
Phase 1 is estimated to cost $13 billion and provide 5,000 jobs at peak construction.
And as preliminary work returns the Federal and Adams buildings purchased by Motiva Enterprises in downtown Port Arthur, the announcement of 500 employees throughout those two converted offices is resurrected along with the planned $12 billion expansion that will create up to 12,000 jobs.
“I think it’s extremely exciting,” said Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick. “I count myself very fortunate to be able to serve as county judge during this renaissance in energy — not only in traditional fossil fuel energy but also in green and blue projects that are coming to this area.”
Branick said the economic impact from the industrial boom will be significant now and in the future.
“First off these projects create thousands of construction jobs that last 2-3 years, and then they create permanent full-time employment for (those) that service the plant,” he said. “They create improvements to real estate that result in additional taxes to units of local government and decrease the burden on residential ratepayers.”
And, he added, the need for vendors and suppliers provides a boost to local businesses.
That, along with housing, is an aspect Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie has put a large focus on.
“It’s enhancing housing availability, and possibly approaching whomever owns our mall and doing what we need to do as a city to make our mall better,” he said. “If we have people here with the right incomes, the sales of these retailers increase.”
As do the opportunities for local entrepreneurs, he said.
“The 1.8 billion from Entergy borders my city and gives us the opportunity to be a part of the economic factor that’s going to be involved,” he said. “Hopefully jobs for Port Arthurans will be available. All of these things are enhancements for us. You have to dream the dream, but you have to know how to cause the dream to become a reality. We’re moving to a phase now where we’ve got to work the dream I know God is placing in the City of Port Arthur.”
In addition, Bartie said, conversations would be had with industry to focus on hiring local, as well as broadening educational opportunities for those that want to enter the field.
Bartie said while there are billions in projects being discussed, there are also many in the works that have yet to be announced.
“We’re being blessed now, really,” he said. “It’s happening in Port Arthur and right next door. And we’ll still be working on the pot holes.”