Sasol talk of World Trade Conference - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Sasol talk of World Trade Conference

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KINDER, LA (KPLC) -

Sasol's $16-to-$21 billion gas-to-liquids project is believed to be the largest foreign direct investment ever in the United States.

It's attracting attention of economic developers from across the country, some of whom came here for the Gulf Coast Trade Alliance's World Trade Conference this week at the Coushatta Casino Resort in Kinder.

It's estimated by 2017 that the U.S. will be the world's largest producer of natural gas and by 2019, the largest producer of oil. It's created huge opportunities for companies to export liquefied natural gas.

Cheniere Energy's Jason French said they have contacts for exports for the next 20 years. He spoke about their facility at Sabine Pass. 

"We have signed customer agreements for the next 20 years. Every drop of gas that comes out of that facility, that Louisiana facility, for the next 20 years, has already been sold. So, if you're looking to buy massive quantities of natural gas, you're out of luck," said French.

Mike Hayes is the Corporate Affairs Manager for Sasol North America Megaprojects. Their gas-to-liquids project and associated projects represent the largest foreign direct investment ever in U.S. Hayes says right now they are working on permits for what will be a huge economic boost over the coming years. 

"A minimum of 1200 new jobs, probably going to be a few hundred over that.  7000 construction jobs. $46.2 billion over the next 20 years," said Hayes.

Aaron Brickman from Washington D.C. is the deputy director of SelectUSA within the U.S. Department of Commerce. He said Sasol's plans resonate with many in Washington D.C. and around the country. Brickman said at a conference in Germany last week, they were calling America the new China.

"The United States is experiencing a manufacturing resurgence, a renaissance. And hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created in manufacturing in our country and the Gulf Coast is right there in the middle of it. And the world is paying attention to the United States for manufacturing because of cheap energy, because of labor productivity, because of our university system, because of our trade school system," said Brickman.

In these days of sequestration, some government speakers were there via telephone. But with Sasol's huge investment, Brickman felt it important to be at the conference in person.

"The Gulf Coast has been at the epicenter of many of the large investments that we've seen coming in as a country in terms of job creation, in terms of capital expenditures boosting economic growth, some major announcements here, particularly Sasol's announcement here -- $16-to-21 billion is an enormous project -- one of the largest in our nation's history," said Brickman.

The Gulf Coast Trade Alliance is comprised of economic development agencies from Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.  

They work to showcase resources of the Gulf Coast south and our ability to compete in a global market place.

SelectUSA was created by executive order of the president to encourage and facilitate investment in the U.S.

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