It is an exciting time to be living in the Rio Grande Valley. Our tremendous economic growth and resources will bring life-changing opportunities to our region.
This is great news for the Valley, which has a young and growing workforce.
The three proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects would bring much-needed job diversity for both current and future generations of job seekers who live in the RGV. The LNG companies would create thousands of well-paying jobs for residents from all kinds of educational and work backgrounds, including both skilled tradesmen and college graduates.
While much has been discussed about the economic benefits, I want to emphasize that the RGV Partnership, like many other groups and organizations throughout the RGV, supports bringing the LNG business to the Valley because of the industry’s strong safety and environmental records.
Liquefied natural gas is made from the same natural gas that is piped directly into homes for cooking and heating. LNG facilities cool the gas to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit to convert it to a liquid so that it can be more easily and more efficiently transported. As a liquid, LNG is not explosive, nor is it stored under pressure.
The potential risk to the environment also is minimal. LNG is always kept in closed systems, onboard ships and in land-based LNG unloading lines and tanks, all designed and engineered to ensure safe, reliable operations. As a result, the U.S. LNG industry has a strong safety record of more than 70 years without an incident impacting the public or the environment.
As the three proposed LNG projects go through the rigorous safety, environmental, engineering and regulatory government review and permitting process, the projects are already having a positive local impact. For example, developers of the potential $20 billion Rio Grande LNG export facility are building local business relationships and working with local workforce and training organizations so they can hire locally.
Companies like Rio Grande LNG want to create jobs for Valley residents. Currently the largest proposed private investment in Texas, Rio Grande LNG’s employment needs would be on a scale never seen before in the Valley. An economic study by The Perryman Group found that the project would create roughly 6,000 jobs during the estimated 7-year construction phase, with an average monthly workforce of over 2,500.
These well-paying jobs would cover almost every construction skill set, from entry-level helpers to specialized welders, pipefitters, crane operators and supervisors. Rio Grande LNG wants as many of these workers as possible to come from the RGV.
Once in operation, it’s estimated that the facility would have 200-plus full-time employees working in the areas of Engineering, Administration, Field Operations, Process Technology, Skilled Crafts, Security, Supervisory, and more.
This new facility would have far-reaching, ongoing economic impacts outside its fenceline. It’s expected to inject hundreds of millions of dollars a year into the local economy and support an estimated 3,000-plus additional jobs in Cameron County alone. This indirect and induced job growth would be spurred by the project’s need for goods and services, the growing local economy and increased household incomes, touching every area of the Valley’s economy, from banking, restaurants and retail, to auto sales, real estate and home improvement, just to name a few.
This is a great opportunity for RGV businesses and workers. Those who want to take full advantage can take steps now to prepare for these opportunities. Two places to get started are the Jobs and Vendor Registration pages on the Rio Grande LNG website (http://www.riograndelng.com). Don’t let one of our region’s greatest opportunities pass you by.