This project… this is the one that gets all the fanfare. You know, I can’t go to HEB… if you want to know about Brownsville, you’re visiting and you like shopping at grocery stores, just go to a HEB. You’ll… everybody will stop and ask you where you’re from and what you do. Or, if they know what you do, they’ll ask you what’s up with this or that? 

Well, this is the number one asked question. When is the LNG company going to announce? When is it coming? And why? Well, for one, this is phase one. Right now, this is the largest private sector investment in the state of Texas at $11.4 billion. We’ve never been in that discussion as a region. That’s why it’s such a big deal. Bechtel (Energy Corp.), which is an international company, is going to be building this. Bechtel has been in business for 125 years. It’s family owned and it has built LNG and large scale projects all over the world. They’re the EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) on this project. 

They’re telling us that at peak, which will be about two, three years away, there’ll be anywhere between 5,000 to 6000 employees on site. That’s why it’s a big deal for us. Three hundred-plus permanent jobs. Now, again, that’s not a big number, but what is a big number is what they pay. Here in the Valley, our economy is a service economy; tourism, education, government, health and retail. Well, guess what, 80 percent of the people in that business who have a family of four don’t earn the wage to keep you above the poverty line for that measurement. That’s why this is a big deal. These (LNG) jobs, $85,000 a year, $100,000 a year. So that’s why it’s such a big deal. 

The local governments will get tax money out of this as well. And this project, I expect an announcement… what we’ve been waiting for… will definitely be made this quarter. But I don’t think it’s going to come at the end of June. I really think it’s going to come towards the end of May. And this is why we all have to get ready. But we’ve been waiting for this a long time. 

And this is the first of two. We have a smaller project called Texas LNG, which is a neighbor of theirs. So if this project happens, you know they’re going to be able… they’re permitted to produce 27 million tons of LNG. Texas LNG is permitted to do four million. They’re small, but, if the industry stays there, we will be the largest producer of LNG of any port in the United States, at 33 million tons per year. 

Editor’s Note: The above commentary was made by Eduardo Campirano, port director for the Brownsville Navigation District, at a Select USA event sponsored by the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation. The event took place at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts on April 27, 2023. The LNG company Campirano was referring to is NextDecade Corporation. It is expected to announce a final investment decision about its Rio Grande LNG export terminal plans before the end of June, 2023. Campirano also spoke about other projects happening at the Port of Brownsville. These will be covered in future editions. 

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