- Entergy Louisiana broke ground on its $872 million Lake Charles Power Station, a combined cycle, natural gas-fired plant.
- The company said the new plant, which should open in 2020, will be more efficient than its older gas-fired plants, and is expected to save customers between $1.3 billion and $2 billion during the facility's 30-year lifespan. In addition, the new plant is projected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 40%.
- International engineering and construction firm CB&I is the contractor for the new facility, and 700 workers are expected to be on the job at the peak of construction activity. The economic impact in Calcasieu Parish, where the plant is located, is estimated at $1 billion in additional sales and $282.9 million in earnings during construction.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, federal offshore oil production in the Gulf of Mexico region of the United States represents 17% of total crude oil production, and federal offshore natural gas production in the region makes up 5% of total U.S. dry production. In addition, the Gulf Coast is home to 45% of all U.S. petroleum refining and 51% of natural gas processing. Because of the number of processing plants and refineries in Louisiana, second only to Texas, the energy administration said that as of 2014, the state led the U.S. in total energy consumption per capita.
Also in Lake Charles, South African company Sasol is building an $11 billion ethane cracker plant, which is expected to come online this year. In December, the company announced it had canceled its plans to build a $15 billion gas-to-liquids plant in Lake Charles next to the cracker facility because of a too-narrow gap between the price of crude oil and natural gas. Sasol said it monitored energy prices for three years before making its decision.
Meanwhile, the biggest ethane cracker plant in the world is coming to the Corpus Christie, TX, area courtesy of a joint venture between ExxonMobil and Saudi Arabia-based Sabic. The Gulf Coast Growth Ventures JV is planning to start work on the facility in 2019, and has started to award pre-construction contracts. When the project is complete and online, it is expected that two polyethylene plants and one ethylene glycol facility will produce 1.8 million metric tons of ethylene.