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LDEQ Provides Alternative to Penalties for Calcasieu Ship Channel Users and Others

Posted on: December 17th, 2014

LDEQ has approved  a Beneficial Environmental Project (BEP) proposed by the Port of Lake Charles. The BEP is available to channel users and others in LDEQ settlement discussions. Using the BEP ensures local funds will be spent in the region on projects with local benefits. To learn more about how to resolve your LDEQ violations, continue reading. 

The Port of Lake Charles has an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority to restore local wetlands and battered marshes by using dredged materials from the Calcasieu Ship Channel. The Port proposed to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) that this intergovernmental agreement be considered a Beneficial Environmental Project (BEP) under LDEQ regulations. The Port has received approval to do so.

The benefits of combining the BEP with the IGA are numerous. First, by using material dredged from the ship channel, the capacity of the upland disposal sites is saved for future use. Second, restoring wetlands will assist in offsetting coastal erosion and provides additional hurricane protection. Finally, the project will assist in maintaining authorized ship channel dimensions and furthermore smooth channel operation. The results will benefit both our region’s environment and the ship channel.

The BEP project allows local entities resolving an LDEQ violation or penalty assessment through a settlement to use the Port’s BEP as a means of insuring that local funds will be spent in the region on projects with local benefits.

Port of Lake Charles Executive Director Bill Rase said of the project, “We are taking another critical step to rebuild our coast and protect our citizens and our infrastructure. Using this dredge material is one of the fastest and most economical ways to restore our coastal wetlands.”

The Port of Lake Charles is the designated sponsor or “caretaker” of the Calcasieu Ship Channel, acting on behalf of the state. As such, one of the Port’s main responsibilities is to find proper disposal for the sediment dredged from the channel, so it will be wide and deep enough for international vessel traffic.

Finding proper disposal sites for the dredged material can be difficult. In the course of a year the material amounts to approximately 4 million cubic yards, which could build a hill approximately 15 to 20 ft. high, compromising 300 acres. Traditionally this material has been deposited in upland sites along the channel. The funding that may be provided by the BEP will allow much of the dredged material to be used to build marsh, using local dollars on local projects that benefit southwest Louisiana.

For more information, official documents are provided.

Beneficial Environmental Project Proposal 

Beneficial Environmental Project Application

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Brinkman Graduates from Professional Port Managers program

Posted on: December 2nd, 2014

Donald Brinkman recently was certified as a Professional Port Manager by the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA). Completion of the four-year certification program places Brinkman amongst the top ranks of other global maritime professionals.

Brinkman has served as the director of engineering and maintenance at the Port of Lake Charles for seven years. He is a McNeese State University graduate, having achieved a master’s degree in engineering management and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.

A mere 100 international graduates have completed the Professional Port Manager certification since its inception in 1995. Participants must hold professional management positions at port authorities, complete a prescribed curriculum of seminars, and complete a two-week residency, or submit a research paper that contributes substantially to the body of knowledge concerning public port management.

Brinkman was nominated to the program by Port of Lake Charles Executive Director Bill Rase. “Donald has been an integral part of the port’s executive leadership, and now he’ll be more versed on the various challenges facing the maritime community—both here in southwest Louisiana as well as regionally.”

Port of LC Celebrates National Rice Month with 17th Annual Cook-Off

Posted on: September 25th, 2014

September is National Rice Month, and in celebration, the Calcasieu-Cameron Rice Growers sponsored the 17th Annual Rice Cook-Off on Wed., Sept. 24 at The Brick House in downtown Lake Charles. The Port of Lake Charles hosted the event and sponsored the awards luncheon. Family and Consumer Science students from 17 area middle schools and high schools participated in the event.

In the “Best Dish” category, first place was awarded to Victoria Pinal (Cowboy Gumbo) of Sam Houston High School; second place went to Daniel Hammond (Chicken Jambalaya) of W.W. Lewis Middle School; and third place was awarded to Brittany Eaton (Boudin Balls) of Starks High School. In the “Most Heart Healthy” dish category, first place was awarded to Aubrey Swiney (Sea-Veggie Casserole) of R.D. Molo Middle School. Farmers Rice Milling Co., Inc. provided free rice cookers for each contestant.

The production, milling and exporting of rice has a major economic effect on Southwest Louisiana, and the education of our students in Family and Consumer Sciences is important in combating health, nutrition and family issues—all major areas of concern in our community.

Pictured is Adam Habetz, President Calcasieu-Cameron Rice Growers Association (back); Victoria Pinal, Daniel Hammond, Brittany Eaton and Aubrey Swiney (front, from left to right).

Sasol North America Project Update- Sept. 2014

Posted on: September 19th, 2014
Wetlands Permits Issued
We recently received our U.S. Corps of Engineers wetlands permit, a significant milestone in moving our projects forward. We plan to begin site clearing and grading on the project site in September. We anticipate taking a final investment decision on the ethane cracker and derivatives complex this year, with the decision on the gas-to-liquids project following within 24 months.
Heavy Haul Route Construction

Sasol plans to use a modular construction approach, which involves the assembly and/or fabrication of steel, pipe and equipment into modules away from the construction site. Using this approach, Sasol can reduce congestion, the amount of scaffolding and equipment required onsite, thereby reducing the impact on the community.

 

The modules and other heavy equipment will arrive via barge at a construction dock facility in Westlake. This facility is located off Sulphur Avenue, near the Westlake water tower. Sasol and its contractors will use a designated heavy haul route (as shown below) to transport the modules and other equipment from the construction dock facility to Sasol’s project site.

 

To accommodate these heavy haul transports, Sasol will be improving the construction dock facility, widening and strengthening the existing roads, as well as protecting or relocating utilities, signage, and traffic signals. We will communicate an estimated timeline for this work upon issuance of the final engineering and design plans from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, which we expect later this year. We will continue to work closely with the community, local emergency responders, local officials and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

Rezoning Update 

The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury and Planning and Zoning Board approved our application to rezone approximately 1,500 acres of Sasol-owned property to heavy industrial resulting in a uniform industrial zone for our project site.  One element of this agreement is the commitment to supply potable water and sewer service to individuals who remain in Mossville following the completion of the Voluntary Property Purchase Program.  Sasol worked with the Parish and the various water districts to devise a strategy to satisfy that need.

Voluntary Property Purchase Program Status
Sasol’s Voluntary Property Purchase Program has been well-received. More than 80 percent of property owners eligible for the program have registered to participate, meaning they have agreed to have their properties appraised so Sasol can make an offer.  As of September 12, Sasol had extended offers on 492 properties. Of these, offers were accepted on 365 properties, 168 properties have closed, 15 offers were rejected and 127 offers are pending.

Port of LC Receives $10 Million Grant for Expansion of BT-1

Posted on: September 10th, 2014
 The Port of Lake Charles has received a $10 million federal grant for the expansion of its Bulk Terminal 1.

The funding includes a barge fleeting area, new berths, a bulkhead and conveyors. The grant, awarded through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery discretionary grant program, will also go toward the dredging necessary for infrastructure improvements.

Construction on the terminal expansion is expected to begin in 2015. After the design package is formalized, the port will put out a request for proposals.

The BT-1 expansion is crucial to get Lake Charles Clean Energy up and running, said Bill Rase, port executive director.

The company, a subsidiary of Leucadia, plans to construct a $2.6 billion facility along the Calcasieu Ship Channel near Citgo. The work will reportedly create 1,500 construction jobs and 200 permanent jobs.

“Without the dock expansion there could be no (Lake Charles Clean Energy) project,” Rase said. “This is great news for the port and Southwest Louisiana. We’re quite satisfied that we were able to get this grant.”

TIGER grants are competitive and awarded through the Department of Transportation for infrastructure projects nationwide.

For fiscal year 2014, the program received about 800 requests worth more than $9.5 billion. Seventy-two applicants received nearly $585 million in TIGER grants.

Rase commended the Louisiana delegation and their staff for helping the port obtain the grant, along with the port’s director of engineering and maintenance, Donald Brinkman, who spent several days in Washington, D.C., presenting the port’s case.

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said the port is “a hub for economic trade for Louisiana and our country,” and Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said it’s important for ports to receive needed “attention and updates.”

U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, said Louisiana’s ports and harbors are the key to Louisiana’s continued success and that “this grant will be a great boost to Lake Charles as we continue preparing for the investment and opportunities coming to this area.”

By Lance Traweek, American Press

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Now Fully Operating at Port of LC

Posted on: August 1st, 2014

Port of Lake Charles Executive Director Bill Rase (right) hands the building keys to new tenants and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials Brad Eddy (center), United States Border Patrol, Patrol Agent in Charge, and Clayton Istre (left), Office of Field Operations Port Director.

In a ceremonial key exchange on Tues., July 29, 2014, Port of Lake Charles Executive Director Bill Rase handed over the keys to the newly-renovated building at 152 Marine St. in Lake Charles to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials.

Under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security, CBP’s Offices of Field Operations and Border Patrol will both operate from the new building—one of only three locations in the country which have both offices under one roof.  The offices play an integral role in border protection and national security in the Southwest Louisiana region.

Accepting the keys were Clayton Istre, Office of Field Operations Port Director, and Brad Eddy, United States Border Patrol, Patrol Agent in Charge.

A ten-year lease is in effect with the U.S. Government Services Administration, an independent agency of the U.S. government, which provides office space, transportation and communications support, among other things, to government offices.

The Port of Lake Charles’ administrative offices were formerly housed in the building. In Sept. 2012, the port’s staff re-located to 751 Bayou Pines East, Suite P.

The Port of Lake Charles encompasses 203 square miles in Calcasieu Parish, is governed by a seven-member board of commissioners and operates marine terminals, properties zoned for industrial use and two industrial parks. For more information on the Port of Lake Charles visit www.portlc.com or call 337 493-3513.

 

Port Reveals Findings of New Calcasieu Ship Channel Traffic Study

Posted on: July 9th, 2014

Port of Lake Charles officials presented the second of three reports analyzing the current and future increase in Calcasieu Ship Channel vessel traffic at a Harbor Safety Committee meeting held earlier today.

Traffic in the channel is expected to grow significantly over the next ten years due to the expanded operations of existing terminals and the construction of various proposed facilities. Vessel traffic is forecasted to increase by over 50 percent in the next five years and to double by 2023.

The port’s leadership commissioned the study, which used a detailed simulation model, to assess the need for changes to the channel’s operation. The third report will identify the most productive changes and allow the Port and other channel users to make changes to the channel infrastructure in order to minimize future delays.

“The Calcasieu Ship Channel is vitally important not only to the Port of Lake Charles and surrounding industries that daily depend on access to it, but also to the entire country,” said Bill Rase, executive director for the port. “This waterway handles nearly 55 million tons of cargo annually and is absolutely critical to supplying the nation’s energy needs. Keeping the channel operating smoothly for trade is the port’s top priority.”

The port is currently the thirteenth largest port in the country based on tonnage handled. Tonnage through the new facilities planned for the channel will place the Port of Lake Charles in the top ten ports in the nation.

The simulation model predicts annual traffic in the channel to increase from 1,000 vessels in 2013 to over 2,000 vessels in 2020. Vessels were grouped in five categories: Large LNG, Small LNG, Deep Draft, Wide and Narrow. The majority of increased traffic was LNG carriers to the proposed terminals.

Other conclusions reached by the traffic study related to seasonal impacts, pilots needed and tug requirements. The study determined wait times were highly seasonal, which was attributed to wind and visibility delays. The channel will require additional pilots to handle the forecasted traffic. Currently, the Channel’s operations employ 17 pilots. However, the study determined the current number of channel tugs is likely sufficient for the channel, assuming the LNG terminals provide their own dedicated tugs.

New capital investments totaling over $65 billion have been announced for the Southwest Louisiana region within the past two years, making the area the “biggest story in economic development in America today,” according to Site Selection Magazine.

Rase asserted, “Most of these projects are a direct result of the Calcasieu Ship Channel, as well as an efficient pipeline infrastructure, which will deliver economical natural gas for refining into finished product for export and domestic use. These projects, along with 20,000 construction jobs and 14,000 permanent, direct and indirect jobs, are dependent upon the ship channel’s efficient operation, as well as consistent funding for dredging.”

One future ship channel user, Magnolia LNG Vice President of Development Ernie Megginson, stated, “The Calcasieu Ship Channel connects Lake Charles to the rest of the world through the Gulf of Mexico. Magnolia LNG selected the site in Southwest Louisiana to build its 8 million ton per annum liquefied natural gas export facility because of the unique combination of location, infrastructure and transportation capabilities offered through the channel. This waterway is very important to our $3.5 billion project, and Magnolia appreciates the port leadership’s proactive approach.”

Phase Two of the traffic study concluded that while the channel was capable of handling all of the additional traffic, vessels will typically experience higher wait times. Wait times were evaluated by vessel categories, and the wait time was highest for the most-restricted vessel categories—Large LNG carriers and Deep Draft vessels.

“We plan to explore changes to channel operations and infrastructure that will allow the increased number of vessels to move more freely and reduce wait times for all vessels. Changes in traffic restrictions, new anchorages and passing lanes are possible considerations at this time,” said Channing Hayden, director of navigation for the port “We’re all working with one goal in mind, and that is to make the channel the safest and most efficient it possibly can be.”

The Port of Lake Charles encompasses 203 square miles in Calcasieu Parish. The port is governed by a seven-member board of commissioners and operates marine terminals, properties zoned for industrial use and two industrial parks. For more information, visit www.portlc.com or call 337 493-3513.

KPLC-TV coverage– 07.09.14

American Press coverage– 07.09.14

Port of Lake Charles receives clean financial audit for 2013

Posted on: June 19th, 2014
   The Port of Lake Charles’ financial statements have received a clean audit for 2013 by a private accounting firm.

The Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District Administration, Personnel and Audit Committee met Monday to discuss the findings.

A representative of McElroy, Quirk and Burch was at the meeting and said the port received the highest opinion possible, adding that the financial statements as presented were in compliance.

The assets of the district exceeded its liabilities as of the end of 2013 by $306.1 million.

The year resulted in excess revenues of expenses, according to the audit. The District’s net position increased $6.7 million during 2013 compared to a $17 million increase during 2012.

According to the report, operating revenues were $33.2 million during 2013, a decrease of $400,000, or 1 percent, from 2012.

Operating expenses were $34.3 million, an increase of $3.6 million, or 12 percent, compared to 2012.

Citgo and Pinnacle were the Port’s biggest customers in 2013 based on revenue — not tonnage.

Richert Self, director of administration and finance for the port, said the audit reflects the sound financial position of the port.

The committee recommended acceptance of the report to the full board, which will meet at 5 p.m. June 30 in the Port of Lake Charles Board Room located at 751 Bayou Pines East, Suite A.

BY LANCE TRAWEEK

 

G2X Energy Receives Air Permits to Construct Gas to Gasoline Facility on Port Property

Posted on: June 5th, 2014

G2X Energy Receives Air Quality Permits for Construction and Operation of its Big Lake Fuels Natural Gas to Gasoline Facility in Louisiana

G2X Energy, Inc. announced on June 5 that the State of Louisiana and the Federal EPA have granted its wholly-owned subsidiary, Big Lake Fuels LLC, the required air permits to construct and operate a natural gas-to-gasoline facility on Port of Lake Charles property. The permits, issued by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality on May 23, are the first permits to allow for the construction and operation of a commercial scale plant to convert natural gas into liquid transportation fuels. The project will convert domestic natural gas into approximately 12,500 barrels per day of zero sulfur, RBOB gasoline and/or commercial grade methanol.

“We are tremendously excited to announce this critical milestone in the development of the first commercial scale natural gas-to-gasoline facility in the United States”, said Tim Vail, President and CEO of G2X Energy, Inc. “The issuance of these permits will allow us to maintain our development schedule goals, and we are very fortunate to have the support of great partners like the LDEQ, the State of Louisiana, the Port of Lake Charles and the Lake Charles community at large.”

G2X will use commercially proven processes and the best available emission control technologies in both its methanol production and its methanol to gasoline conversion, which together comprise the industrial facility that will produce both marketable methanol and unleaded automotive gasoline, Mr. Vail explained.

Driven by an abundance of shale gas and resulting expansion of North American natural gas reserves, G2X is creating a platform to expand the role of natural gas in the existing chemicals and transportation fuels market. G2X’s natural gas-to- methanol plant in Pampa, Texas is currently under construction, and the development of the Big Lake Fuels plant in Lake Charles continues at a rapid pace. “This is an exciting time in the United States and Southwest Louisiana, and we are very proud to be a part of the new era of energy independence,” stated Mr. Vail while speaking at the Zeus Intelligence GTL Conference in Houston, Texas.

Official Opening of Harbor Police Department Security Center

Posted on: May 28th, 2014

The Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District hosted a Maritime Day Celebration with a dedication ceremony and reception for its new Harbor Police Department Security Center located at 150 Marine St. on National Maritime Day, Thurs., May 22, 2014.

 The new control center creates a hub for the port’s harbor police and security operations and monitors the port’s properties and the Calcasieu River Ship Channel. The facility also includes an emergency operations center and helps increase safety on port property.

William Rase, executive director of the Port of Lake Charles said, “The opening of the new Harbor Police Department Security Center represents completion of the entire City Docks’ entrance plaza project, which includes the new main gate at the intersection of Marine and Sallier Sts. The old facility was no longer sufficient for our present-day needs

“The new plaza allows for more efficient and safer processing of City Docks traffic. It is a huge milestone for the Port of Lake Charles and is part of our ongoing capital improvements project totaling $275 million, in preparation for Southwest Louisiana’s industrial expansion.”

National Maritime Day is observed May 22, the date that the American steamship Savannah sailed from the U.S. to England. This event marked the first successful crossing of the Atlantic Ocean using steam propulsion.

“Maritime Day pays tribute to the maritime industry and the benefits it brings to our region in terms of transportation, jobs, goods and recreational opportunities,” said Rase