Port Fourchon, Louisiana's southernmost port and destination for nearly all of the Gulf of Mexico's deepwater oil production, is being considered for an $800 million liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility.

The proposed Galliano facility by Energy World (USA) Inc. would produce up to 2 million metric tons/year of LNG and operate a separate, small-scale liquefaction plant to fuel offshore supply vessels powered by LNG. As designed, the facility would be built on a 150-acre site near port-owned property near Belle Pass, which is outside the existing port development, according to the Greater Lafourche Port Commission (GLPC).

"While it is still very early in the planning and regulatory process, we are excited to be able to tell the community and our tenants about this potential opportunity to continue to keep Port Fourchon at the very cutting edge of the oil and gas services industry," GLPC Executive Director Chett Chiasson said. "We feel that this is a great addition to the suite of vessel services that are offered by our tenants and greatly enhances our capability and versatility as the premier services hub for the oil and gas industry."

Last year a unit of Harvey Gulf International Marine Inc. opened small-scale LNG marine fueling terminal in Port Fourchon, said to be North America's first.

Port officials have been working with Energy World since last April, and if it moves forward, the project would be "the largest single initial investment in the history of both Port Fourchon and Lafourche Parish."

Energy World's U.S. subsidiary is part of Australian-based Energy World International Ltd. (EWI), which develops, constructs and operates infrastructure, power generation and energy-related projects. EWI has a controlling interest in Energy World Corp. (EWC). EWC has LNG operations in Australia and Indonesia, with projects underway in Papau New Guinea, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Sir Lanka .

"The Energy World family of companies has over 20 years' experience in the safe production, storage, transportation and delivery of LNG to its customers in Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines, and we are looking forward to bringing this expertise to Port Fourchon," said Energy World USA President Kevin Blount.

"With the recent arrival of Energy World's LNG carrier Ocean Quest at our LNG hub terminal in the Philippines, we have completed a key part of our vision for bringing clean and economic energy to Asia," EWC CEO Stewart Elliott said. "Energy World is now in complete control of its own destiny from gas in the ground to liquefaction or spot market purchases, transport, storage, regasification and the production of electricity, providing access to offtake agreements for the LNG we produce.

"The LNG produced at Port Fourchon will initially be exported to our own gas-fired power plants right across the Asia-Pacific region and also be sold into U.S. domestic markets for marine applications. Eventually, we hope to export to Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, where Energy World is separately proposing to develop a LNG hub terminal and gas-fired power plants consistent with our goal of delivering clean and affordable electricity to developing countries on a global platform."

"With as much as our workers and residents have been hurting lately, this project could be a great opportunity for our local economy, bringing hundreds of jobs during the construction phase, and dozens of good-paying permanent jobs once they are up and running, which will result in Lafourche Parish being able to hang on to our young families and workers," said Lafourche Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle.

In the coming weeks, GLPC plans to begin a waterway suitability assessment with the U.S. Coast Guard to ensure that current and future port activities would not be adversely affected by operating the facility. The assessment also would serve to support Energy World's application for project approval to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The "existing tenants are the heart and soul of our community's economic development and future growth," into which Energy World would be welcomed, said GLPC Board President Perry Gisclair. "We take our role as advocate for our existing tenants and the offshore service industry seriously, and we are working very closely with both the U.S. Coast Guard and Energy World to ensure that vessel traffic in and out of the port will continue to grow through this development and our other expansion plans stretching far into the future."

With the assistance of the director of economic development for Lafourche Parish, the South Louisiana Economic Council is working with the Louisiana Department of Economic Development to identify potential business and tax incentives for Energy World.