Lake Charles port approves agreement with Clean Energy

LAKE CHARLES (AP) — The Port of Lake Charles board has approved an operating agreement with Lake Charles Clean Energy for the handling and storage of methanol — a major step in bringing the $2.6-billion project forward.

Port officials said the new submission will allow the product to be exported — about one million tons per year. The port already received a 25-year operating contract with Lake Charles Clean Energy, a subsidiary of Leucadia.

Port Director Bill Rase said recently this is the largest project in the works at the Port and will help create long-term sustainability for years to come.

Rick Richard, spokesman for Clean Energy, said the working relationship with the port is vital in making the project come to fruition.

The company has spent more than $50 million in site preparation — mainly for drainage and electricity.

“As we continue to prepare the site for construction, the port of Lake Charles is working along with us at the same time,” Richard said. “This is a sign of the continuing ability of the Port of Lake Charles to be an economic engine driver for Southwest Louisiana.”

The three-year construction period will commence when the company attains public financing in early 2014. The project will reportedly bring 1,500 construction jobs and 165 full-time positions.

In October 2012, the company secured offtake agreements with BP Products North America, Air Products and Chemicals and Denbury Offshore for products that will be produced at the facility.

Lake Charles Clean Energy was awarded $1.56 billion of Gulf Opportunity Zone, or GO Zone, and Hurricane Ike tax-exempt bonds by the Louisiana State Bond Commission. LCCE also received a $261-million grant from the Department of Energy as part of an effort to capture carbon dioxide from industrial sources for beneficial use or storage.

LCCE received a Prevention of Significant Deterioration construction permit and an emissions operating permit earlier this year.

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