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Driftwood LNG’s launch comes with potential for 400 operation jobs

CARLYSS, La. — Demand for natural gas and specifically for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is increasing as the world looks for lower cost and lower polluting fuel sources. Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas are make players on a national scale.

Driftwood LNG will soon become part of that picture.

“LNG evens the playing field as it can be delivered anywhere on ships for a low cost,” said Joi Lecznar, EVP Public and Government Affairs, Tellurian.

Tellurian, based in Houston, is the parent company of Driftwood LNG. The site is located in Calcasieu Parish, south of Carlyss off Louisiana Highway 27.

A Houston newspaper reported “Tellurian could begin building its $16.6 billion liquefied natural gas terminal within the next few months. The plant, when it’s complete, will process and export a total of 27.6 million metric tons of LNG upon its expected completion in 2026.

Lecznar said in an email to the American Press, “Tellurian plans to do some early work on site this summer as allowed by Federal Emergency Regulatory Commission (FERC). There are several activities outside the scope of the Bechtel contract that we can do to prepare. We plan to give Bechtel ‘notice to proceed’ with construction early 2022.”

Driftwood LNG’s construction start was hurt by the pandemic. Tellurian held the required permits but needed contracts and financing to move forward.  Now, it’s paid down its debts, according to Lecznar, and is currently debt-free. The market began to rebound in September and Tellurian lined up contracts.

President & CEO at SWLA Chamber-Economic Alliance George Swift said he is aware of recent developments regarding newly signed contracts with Tellurian for LNG, a good sign of progress.

“Vitol and Gunvor recently signed sales and purchase agreements with Tellurian,” Swift said.

The contract with Gunvor, Singapore is 3 million tons per year over 10 years. Vitol, a Houston-based arm of the Switzerland-based energy and commodities giant signed a similar agreement earlier this month. France-based Total, as a partner will purchase 1 million tons per annum and as a customer, 1.5 mtpa.

“The US has a robust map of pipelines,” Lecznar said. “Driftwood is perfectly situated near natural gas gathering hubs so we technically could source natural gas from nearly any basin in the U.S.

“Natural gas from our own production in the Haynesville (northwest Louisiana) will be delivered to these hubs more cleanly, with no flaring, and cost efficiently, because of the shorter distance, than other basins. Driftwood will receive its gas supply from Driftwood pipeline, which connects to gathering hubs.”

Lecznar said switching from coal to gas is key in reducing pollution and lowered carbon. In China and India, coal still makes up 66 percent and 74 percent of power.

Driftwood will have 6,500 construction jobs and 400 operation jobs, Lecznar said.

“We are committed to being a good neighbor and strengthening our relationships with communities by working together on projects that improve the quality of life for all residents,” Lecznar said. “From our inception in 2016 to date, Tellurian has invested more $2.2 million in Southwest Louisiana. In August, Tellurian committed over $100,000 to provide immediate and long-term assistance to our Southwest Louisiana partners, neighbors and community for rebuilding and recovery from recent storms.

Partners receiving donations include Care Help of Sulphur, our Calcasieu Parish Partners in Education schools, Big Brothers Big Sisters Louisiana, the Carlyss Fire Department and the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana.

Editor’s note: Reprinted with permission of the American Press in Lake Charles, a Port Arthur Newsmedia editorial partner.