Delegation from Israel visits Southwest Louisiana

Published: Jun. 22, 2012 at 2:35 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2012 at 6:07 PM CDT
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Israeli visit to Cheniere Group (Source: Cheniere Energy Inc.)
Israeli visit to Cheniere Group (Source: Cheniere Energy Inc.)

If you wanted to build an oil and gas industry, Louisiana would be an ideal place to study to find out how. That's why a delegation of ten high ranking Israeli energy officials paid a visit to Southwest Louisiana this week.

The oil in gas industry in Israel is in its infancy but expected to grow due to large energy finds there. A trade mission to Israel last October was just the start of Louisiana's possible role.

Local economic development officials say Israel and Southwest Louisiana are developing a relationship that will likely benefit both.

It all started last October when Louisiana officials went on a trade mission to Israel. U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Ambassador Shapiro stated that this was a historical trade mission because it was the first oil and gas trade mission between the United States and Israel in the history of the two countries.

Now Israeli energy officials have come to Louisiana to learn more about the oil and gas industry here.

"Ultimately Senator Landrieu made that invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu and he responded by sending a delegation of ten of his senior officials from the Department of Energy in Israel," said Conner.

David Conner with the Southwest Louisiana alliance was on the trip this week which included a visit to Cheniere Energy.

"These guys are looking to understand how we do policy, how we do regulations, how we deal with environmental issues and permitting and those kind of things. In addition to that, they wanted to see some of our port operations, we had them down at Port Fourchon," said Conner.

So, as Israel strives to develop its energy independence, what's in it for Southwest Louisiana?

"For us it's the beginning of relationships for future trade, if they are interested in exporting their natural gas at some point in time, well our industries here have that expertise and maybe can partner at some point in the future to help them bring that technology to Israel," said Conner.

Conner thinks there are even more far reaching possibilities.

"One of the things that they have that their neighboring countries don't have is the natural gas finds. So, if it happens that these guys are providing natural gas to their neighbors and they become trade partners, what does that mean for the relationships for between those countries? And what does that do for stability in the Middle East? It could have an impact that way. It very well could (make the situation more stable)."

Conner says expertise and our ability to train a work force are potential exports to Israel. He encourages any business interested in identifying potential international markets to contact the alliance.

Local Alliance spokesman David Conner says the visit was a follow up to the trade mission to Israel and also to allow the visitors to see our capabilities in the energy industry.

Conner says twelve companies were represented on the trip to Israel last October.

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