BY KEVIN ADLER / POINTLOGIC ENERGY
In this Q&A, PointLogic Energy discusses how Louisiana is on the road to becoming an “energy superpower,” in the words of Jason French, who is the first chairman of the recently created Louisiana Energy Export Association (LEEA). Formed earlier this year by five LNG exporters that are operating or building liquefaction facilities in the state, LEEA has achieved quick success on bringing attention to the economic impact of LNG on the state and legislative success at the state capitol. LEEA members are Magnolia LNG, Tellurian, G2, Lake Charles LNG and Venture Global LNG.
French is the vice president of governmental and public affairs for Tellurian and Driftwood LNG, which is seeking to build a 26 million metric tons per annum, $16 billion LNG facility. Tellurian was launched in 2016 by former Cheniere CEO Charif Souki, and French was an executive at Cheniere.
PointLogic: What was the motivation to start LEEA?
French: The LNG companies in Louisiana started talking in 2016 about the need for an industry association that would allow us to speak with one voice to policy makers and opinion leaders. While the LNG export industry is a relatively new entrant in Louisiana and the U.S., our industry has matured to the point that we need to organize and tell our story ourselves.
PointLogic: What has your message been?
If you look at the facilities currently under construction or likely to be built by the end of the decade, it’s an investment of about $88 billion in Louisiana alone. By 2020, the U.S. will be the third-largest LNG exporter in the world, and most of it will be coming from Louisiana. That means that Louisiana by itself will be an energy superpower – and that’s a perspective that I think had not reached many people yet.
I think we are starting to get that message through. Cumulatively, we are generating 25,000 direct jobs in construction and over 2,000 permanent jobs. Many policymakers and opinion leaders might have seen reports from individual LNG producers, but they had not seen this cumulative message and understood the impact of these multiple mega-projects.