La. working to turn low natural gas prices into big industrial investments
With natural gas at decade-low prices, state economic officials are working to catch a wave of new investment interest from industries eager to tap into the abundant supply of the clean-burning fuel to power their plants. "We're working hard to position ourselves to get a disproportionate share of that new activity," Stephen Moret, secretary of LED, tells The Times-Picayune. Moret expects the state will add seven to 15 projects over the next five years—in the range of $500 million to $5 billion apiece—with most topping out around $1.5 billion. Those predictions will likely hinge on several factors, including the pace of environmental permitting for new manufacturing projects, steady domestic natural gas exploration using hydraulic fracturing, and the world's markets steering clear of a severe global recession. Competitive fuel prices have already been at least partially responsible for several new industrial projects in the state, including a new natural gas-fired power plant that Entergy Louisiana plans to build in Westwego and a methanol plant that Vancouver-based Methanex Corp. may build in Geismar. Moret anticipates Louisiana could secure about four projects a year, with construction on as many as three projects getting under way by early 2013 and "at least double that next year, and five to six big ones for the next few years," he says. Read the full story here.
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