Earlier this week, Governor Bobby Jindal and Live Oak LNG Chairman Martin Houston announced the company will invest $2 billion to develop a liquefaction facility and liquefied natural gas export terminal near Lake Charles. The plant will be constructed on the Calcasieu Ship Channel, which connects the Lake Charles industrial region to worldwide markets via the Gulf of Mexico.
According to the Jindal administration, the Live Oak LNG project will create 100 new direct jobs at the liquefaction and export facility, with an average annual salary of $75,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project also will result in 385 new indirect jobs, for a total of 485 new permanent jobs in Calcasieu Parish and surrounding parishes in the Southwest Region. In addition, the LNG project will generate an estimated 1,000 construction jobs at peak building activity.
Governor Jindal said, “This investment by Live Oak LNG is a welcome addition to the wealth of major industrial projects in Southwest Louisiana that are capitalizing on our state’s energy infrastructure and our outstanding, skilled workforce. The global demand for affordable, American-produced liquefied natural gas is on the rise, and Calcasieu Parish is ideally situated to serve that market with its deepwater ports and access to natural gas supplies. Louisiana’s top-ranked business climate is attracting more and more companies that are making major investments here, including important energy projects like Live Oak LNG. Today, more people are working than ever before in Louisiana, and the increasing quality of those jobs reinforces our belief that there’s no better place in the world to live, work and raise a family than right here in Louisiana.”
Live Oak LNG is a subsidiary of Houston-based Parallax Energy, which was launched last year to develop global LNG projects and a natural gas supply and trading business. The mid-sized Live Oak project will be designed for a plant capacity of up to 5 million metric tons per year and will include two storage tanks capable of holding 130,000 cubic meters of liquefied natural gas, along with port facilities to accommodate standard-sized LNG carriers. The project will be located on the west bank of the Calcasieu Ship Channel, southwest of Lake Charles, on a tract of approximately 350 acres.
“Live Oak LNG is an innovative, efficient and cost-effective way to safely deliver LNG in smaller quantities that buyers can purchase incrementally,” Live Oak LNG Chairman Martin Houston said. “Having worked in Louisiana in the past, I know that Louisiana is a great place to do business. We will be working hand in hand with the community and government officials to ensure this new project brings economic benefit, business opportunities and jobs to Calcasieu Parish. We appreciate the incentives available and the support of local officials who have already provided a wealth of information.”
LED began discussions with Live Oak in October 2014. To secure the project, the state will offer a competitive incentive package that includes utilization of the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
Live Oak will begin the federal permitting process within the next few weeks. Once permits are secured from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, expected by late 2016, construction will begin. Construction jobs are expected to peak at 1,000 during the three-year building phase, and the plant is targeted to begin operations in late 2019.
“On behalf of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, I am pleased to welcome the region’s newest addition to our clean energy environment,” said Nic Hunter, the policy jury’s president. “Live Oak LNG brings a wealth of experience in the field of natural gas, and the company’s investment in our area shows that rather than a ‘boomtown,’ we are a sustainable, prosperous community benefitting from generations of visionary leadership. I look forward to seeing the success of Live Oak LNG and the continuation of our economic growth.”
Live Oak LNG is the latest in a recent spate of companies to announce major liquefaction and natural gas export projects in Louisiana’s Southwest Region.
“Deepwater port access and proximity to one of the United States’ major natural gas pipeline hubs are making such projects attractive for developers in Calcasieu and Cameron parishes as domestic natural gas production increases,” said George Swift, President and CEO of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. “This new project is very welcome and demonstrates that Southwest Louisiana can continue to attract new companies. We look forward to working with Live Oak LNG to assist them in any way possible.”
(From Jindal Press Release)
On Wednesday, February 4, 2015, Jefferson Transit will implement the use of Shadow, a real-time tracking feature for all buses in operation across the Jefferson Transit system.
Shadow is a public portal whose technology allows riders to view bus locations in real time. Riders can query route and schedule information, as well as arrival times for individual stops.
The tool, which displays a graphical map displaying the current location of JeT buses using GPS data, will be housed on the Jefferson Transit website but is optimized for mobile access.
Port of New Orleans
The addition of new shipping services and an uptick in the national economy contributed to record container volumes at the Port of New Orleans in 2014. According to year-end totals, 490,526 twenty-foot-equivalent units moved through the Port’s Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal during the 12 months – an 8.8 percent increase over the 2013 total of 451,057.
“Strong export markets, primarily for chemical and agriculture products, together with new inbound customers such as Chiquita contributed to record container volumes,” said Port President and CEO Gary LaGrange. “New services in 2015, such as the recently announced CMA CGM weekly European service, and a full year of Chiquita cargo could translate into robust results again in 2015.”
The Port welcomed a new weekly European service from French container carrier CMA CGM Feb. 2 with the arrival of the CMA CGM Jamaica. In addition, Chiquita Brands International, along with their sailing partner Mediterranean Shipping Company, began weekly service to the Port in October, after relocating its shipping operations to New Orleans after a 40-year hiatus.
New Orleans Terminal and Ports America jointly operate the container terminal – with New Orleans Terminal handling the new Chiquita cargo and Ports America handling the CMA CGM service. The new services join existing customers MSC, Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk, Seaboard Marine, CSAV, Zim, NYK, Orient Overseas Container Line, American President Line, Hyundai and MOL offering regular container services at the terminal. In an effort to attract new container services, the Port’s Board of Commissioners recently approved a new incentive dockage rate for a new service’s first 20 vessel calls.
“It takes a collaborative effort of the entire maritime community to achieve success, compete globally and sustain that competitive advantage,” LaGrange said. “We will continue to be proactive in meeting our customers’ needs.”
Efforts to expand the container terminal are well underway. The new Mississippi River Intermodal Terminal is taking shape within the terminal, which will result in a modern and efficient intermodal container transfer terminal to facilitate the movement of marine and rail cargo, while enhancing safety and reducing the carbon footprint of the regional and national transportation systems. The total investment for the 12-acre project is $25.1 million, which includes a $16.7 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant. The intermodal terminal will add an estimated 200,000 TEUs of capacity to the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal – bringing total capacity to 840,000 TEUs per year. Expected completion date is February of 2016.
In addition, the Port and New Orleans Terminal are jointly investing $7.9 million in a refrigerated container racking system within the container terminal to store more than 600 refrigerated containers at once, due to the surging demand for refrigerated cargo in New Orleans – primarily imported bananas and exported poultry. The installation is scheduled for completion by year’s end.
Michael Toohey, President & CEO of the Waterways Council, Inc., will deliver the keynote address at the WorkBoat Regional Summit: “Future of the Inland Waterways”. The one-day event, focused on keeping inland operators abreast of industry changes and trends, will be held in New Orleans on Tuesday, March 31 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, New Orleans, LA.
Toohey’s keynote will address the inland waterway industry’s most top-of-mind issues, including WRRDA (The Water Resources Reform & Development Act of 2014), infrastructure and affordable energy.
With 30 years’ industry experience behind him, Mike Toohey joined the Waterways Council in August, 2011. Prior to that, he was a consultant for The Livingston Group from 2007 to 2011, providing legislative representation before Congress and the Executive Branch for clients from the chemical and transportation sectors. He also served as Vice President, Director of Government Relations, Associate Director of Government Relations, and Senior Washington Representative for Ashland Inc. from 1998 through 2007. For more information on Michael Toohey’s extensive background, read his bio here.
Other topics featured in the one-day Summit include, “Inland Towboat Design & Trends”, “Economic Outlook for Inland Waterways and Subchapter M, WRRDA, the Barge Tax, and Other Issues Facing Inland Operators”. Participants will also enjoy a networking breakfast and luncheon, included with each registration to attend.
Participation at the 2015 WorkBoat Regional Summit: Future of the Inland Waterways, can be reserved athttp://www.workboat.com/regional-summit-louisiana.aspx. Registrations on or before March 2 qualify for an early-bird reduced price of $395, after which, advance registration before March 30 is $425. Day-of-event registration (March 31) is $495.
LSU and the FLU
The LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health invites New Orleans area residents to join a national crowdsourcing effort to fight the flu. By signing up at Flu Near You or downloading the Flu Near You app and reporting weekly flu symptoms, the public can help public health professionals get real-time information about where flu hot zones are and find out for themselves how close to home flu activity is. The free online site also offers the latest flu news, a vaccine locator and local public health links. Participants must be at least 13 years old. Participation is confidential, and data are encrypted. Submissions are anonymized and posted in aggregate with other submissions.
“Sign up is quick, and it just takes a few seconds a week to be a citizen scientist by participating in Flu Near You,” says Randi Kaufman, DrPH, Principal Investigator and Assistant Professor-Research at the LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health.
The information provided will help health professionals learn more about the effectiveness of that season’s vaccine, flu trends, and the means to compare self-reported information with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other data sources – all in an effort to reduce annual influenza-related deaths.
“A similar Australian research project demonstrated that crowdsourced data was comparable to physician reports and available one week sooner,” notes Dr. Kaufman.
Flu Near You was created through a partnership between HealthMap at Boston Children's Hospital (an expansive globe-spanning project that tracks outbreaks of infectious diseases), the American Public Health Association, and the Skoll Global Threats Fund. The effort is supported by private funds to demonstrate its utility for multiple sectors that must work together for pandemic preparedness if data is openly shared. The information on the site will be available to public health officials, researchers, disaster planning organizations and anyone else who may find this information useful.
According to the CDC, flu remains widespread across most of the United States, and the severity indicators are high. The hospitalization rate for people 65 years and older is the highest recorded since CDC began tracking that information. Some states, where flu activity started earlier, are seeing signs of declines in activity while other states are showing increases. Flu activity has been elevated for 10 consecutive weeks nationally. An average season lasts about 13 weeks. However, because this season started relatively early, it could last longer than average.
Bioceptive Wins FDA Clearance for 1st Women's Health Medical Device
Reaching a major milestone, Bioceptive has received 510(k) clearance from the FDA for its suction cervical retractor as a new option for a wide array of women's health procedures. The new non-traumatic device can be used in various procedures including IUD insertion, endometrial biopsies, and others. It replaces the standard cervical tenaculum forceps, which are used to pierce and clamp cervical tissue. This device will serve as a platform for Bioceptive's pipeline of products currently under development and in preclinical testing. The company expects to begin a limited market rollout in late 2015.