LC Port approves $400 Million increase for cogen plant

By Adam Hooper - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - They are expanding operations, before ever being operational. Leucadia LLC, the company behind the congen plant, wants to increase productivity. They plan to take petroleum coke, and turn it into clean energy.

"They actually changed the size of the plant, as a result of looking at other off take products. Originally, they were looking at, what is called, substitute gas. Now they are looking at methanol, and some other products. That required them to expand the size of the plant," said Michael Dees with the Lake Charles Port.

The port expects the plant to generate around 150 to 200 permanent jobs, around three thousand construction jobs, and around $68 Million in construction payroll.

"In this case, the construction jobs and the permanent jobs are something that will be very beneficial to the community. But in addition to that, the port will be a part in the operations," said Dees.

So far, the only thing that has been done, as far as construction in regards to the $1 Billion project, is the clearing of 70 acres of land being leased from the Port of Lake Charles. Before construction has ever kicked off, the people behind the congen plant are asking for an additional $400 Million.

The Port of Lake Charles, which not only leases the land to Leucadia for $1 Million a year, but also distributes the bonds, has agreed to the increase. They will allocate $310 Million from go zone bonds issued after Hurricane Ike, and $90 Million from the go zones bonds issued after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Leucadia will invest $600 Million of their own money. This brings the grand total of the project to $2 Billion.

The Lake Charles Port Authority voted unanimously to increase the funding for the congen project. Leucadia plans to make a decision on construction by the end of this year.

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