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$10B liquid natural gas facility coming to Cameron Parish, bringing hundreds of jobs

The bank of the Mississippi River north of Baton Rouge is dotted with petrochemical plants, oil refineries and paper mills.
The bank of the Mississippi River north of Baton Rouge is dotted with petrochemical plants, oil refineries and paper mills.

Virginia-based energy company Venture Global LNG formally announced Thursday it plans to build a $10 billion liquified natural gas export terminal in Cameron Parish, bringing 200 permanent jobs with an average annual salary of $120,000 to southwest Louisiana.

Gov. John Bel Edwards and company officials celebrated the announcement of the new project as a job creator and a boon to the state’s efforts to attract investment in the state’s burgeoning liquified natural gas industry.

Louisiana Economic Development estimates that the facility will create 867 permanent indirect jobs in southwest Louisiana and 2,300 temporary jobs at the peak of construction.

The Advocate reports that the company will begin construction on the facility in 2023 and start shipping LNG in 2025, according to paperwork Venture Global filed with federal regulators earlier this year.

The facility, known as CP2, will occupy 650 acres in Cameron Parish adjacent to Venture Global’s planned $4.5 billion Calcasieu Pass terminal, which is set to begin construction early next year.

The two facilities will work in concert to produce up to 30 million metric tonnes of LNG each year.

Venture Global plans to build another $8.5 billion LNG terminal 20 miles south of New Orleans in Plaquemines Parish.

When all three projects are completed, the company will have invested $23 billion into Louisiana and have the ability to export an estimated 50 million tons of liquid natural gas each year.

The company announced Thursday that the facility will also incorporate carbon capture and sequestration into its operations, a key element of Edwards’ climate change mitigation strategy.

“It is incorporating clean energy technology that reduces the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere, which is significant for our environment,” Edwards said. “As Louisiana pursues a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, projects that feature carbon capture and sequestration allow our state to sustain industry without sacrificing our long-term carbon-reduction goals.”

Venture Global said CP2 will have the capacity to capture and store 500,000 tons of CO2 underground each year, but it is unclear what percentage of the facility's carbon dioxide emissions that represents.

Venture Global CEO Mike Sabel said the investment in southwest Louisiana — an international hub for LNG exporting — and the utilization of carbon capture technology are part of the company’s efforts to provide the “cleanest low-cost LNG in North America.”

“We are proud to partner with Louisiana in these efforts and in developing carbon capture and sequestration for our facilities,” Sabel said. “Under the leadership of Governor John Bel Edwards, Louisiana is enhancing its status as an international hub for innovation to tackle the energy and climate challenges of our time.”

Climate activists have been critical of Louisiana's emphasis on natural gas and carbon capture and sequestration in its long-term climate strategy, however. They argue that the practices allow the fossil fuel industry to greenwash their images without adequately investing in true clean energy alternatives.

While the use of liquefied natural gas emits less carbon dioxide than coal, leaks in aging LNG pipelines often lead to the release of methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. They further argue that carbon capture and sequestration cannot be utilized at a large enough scale to significantly reduce rising global temperatures.

Others have been critical of the state’s willingness to subsidize the oil and gas industry by sacrificing tax dollars that would otherwise go to communities in need.

To facilitate the project in Louisiana, the company is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs. The quality jobs program provides a 6% cash rebate of annual gross payroll for new jobs for up to 10 years, while the Industrial Tax Exemption Program gives qualifying companies an 80% property tax abatement for up to ten years if the state and local governments agree that the company meets certain criteria.

Paul Braun was WRKF's Capitol Access reporter, from 2019 through 2023.