Victoria Advocate: Lavaca officials give go ahead on liquid natural gas plant

April 29, 2014

By Jessica Rodrigo

Lavaca County commissioners Monday approved the creation of a reinvestment zone that will bring more jobs to the county.

In addition, the commissioners approved the tax abatement application submitted by HEYCO LNG in a 4-0 vote to build a liquid natural gas production plant that will work in partnership with the Enterprise Products Partners plant on alternate U.S. Highway 77.

"If everything goes well, (HEYCO) will add more to it, and there also will be the possibility to create more support type businesses in the area, which will create more jobs," said County Judge Tramer Woytek.

The construction is expected to last between eight to 11 months once the abatement process is complete, said Chris Coleman, president of HEYCO LNG. Company officials said they hope to break ground in May or June.

"It shows great support from the county and the officials and the local community to get this approval," Coleman said.

This will be the company's first plant for liquid natural gas production, Coleman said, and one that he believes will give it a head start in a market for alternative fuels.

The plant will use gas from the Enterprise plant to refine into liquid natural gas for distribution.

The estimated cost of the plant is $91 million, Woytek said, and will provide eight full-time jobs starting off but could go up to 15 jobs, depending on future growth.

Commissioner R.W. Brown said the approval provides a win-win situation for Lavaca County.

"It is going to bring some very good, better-than-average jobs to the area," Brown said. "If anyone were to complain about that, it would be wrong."

The plant's proposed location will prove to be another benefit to the area, he said, because it will be on a U.S. highway rather than a county road.

Coleman agreed.

The proximity to the I-10 corridor will make it easy to supply fuel for consumers of liquid natural gas as the transportation sector continues to grow, he said.

The availability to alternative fuel will provide producers in the area with an option to reduce their use of diesel, especially in the oil field, Woytek said.

"Looking at the machinery that they use ... this will be a cleaner way to develop more energy, and we are glad to be a part of that," he said.

Lauren Yates