PORTLAND, Texas — Expansion plans have received final approval at Cheniere's natural gas liquefaction plant in Portland.
The Houston-based company hopes to have construction complete by 2025 on equipment that will allow the plant to export 66 percent more LNG — from 15 million tons right now to 25 million tons — per year.
That product provides energy for 25 customer countries across the world.
“It’s a major impact on the US’s economy — positive," the vice president and general manager at the Portland plant Ari Aziz said. "It’s a major impact on energy security in the world.”
It's also a job creator.
Aziz says the plant currently employs around 300 people with about 200 contractors also working there.
The expansion would require an estimated 1,000 construction workers — and once that work is done — 200 additional permanent workers and 200 extra contractors would be needed to operate it.
Lots of the hires will come from the surrounding area.
“Our objective is to have as much from the local community as possible,” Aziz said.
An activist group is speaking out against Cheniere's expansion plans.
Texas Campaign for the Environment is concerned about the chemicals the plant is already emitting, let alone the added emissions from a larger plant.
They're also concerned about the possibility of an accident, like the explosion at a different company's LNG plant in the Houston area two weeks ago.
“My concern is most importantly the public health and safety of the communities that Cheniere operates in," Chloe Torres from Texas Campaign for the Environment said.
Aziz didn't address those concerns, but he points out that the new LNG units that come with expansion will be energy-savers because they'll use electricity as part of the process instead of gas.
He's excited that after nine years on the job, his plant continues to grow.
“I’ve been at Corpus Christi since the inception," Aziz said. "It’s a really fantastic and proud moment to lead a team of fantastic people and to contribute to not only Cheniere but the US’s progress.”