GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A multi-million dollar venture is getting underway at the Port of Gulfport. SeaOne Holdings, LLC has signed a 40-year lease at the Port to build a home for its Fuels Supply Project.
Right now, terminal four of the port sits empty, but soon, it will be the site of a CGL Production and Export Facility.
Natural gas and gas liquids will travel from north of Interstate 10 to the port via a pipeline. That will be used to produce compressed gas liquid, or CGL.
"The purpose of the project is to provide U.S. economic fuel to the Caribbean and Central and South America in order to replace existing liquid fuels such as oil and diesel," said SeaOne's president and chief operating officer Bruce Hall.
Hall said the project will provide those countries with a low-cost and environmentally-friendly energy source. It'll also provide millions in tax revenue for the City of Gulfport, Harrison County, and the Gulfport School District.
"We believe that the revenues will eventually provide growth, not only in jobs but also allow monies to go to certain programs in the community as a whole," Hall said.
The project will create 1,600 to 1,800 construction jobs, and ultimately 45 to 50 permanent jobs. Hall said plans are in the works for programs to be offered at surrounding colleges to teach trades to future and current employees.
"The work that has to be done is very high technology, but it also is very basic," said Hall. "So certification for workers is very, very important, but we expect training to be part of the whole exercise and development."
The new addition to the port will more than double its tonnage annually.
"This is a brand new cargo for us," said Jonathan Daniels, executive director and CEO of the port. "It's a liquid bulk, a gas project, purely on an export basis, and it is going to add a significant amount of tonnage."
Hall said the facility will be a low-emission plant, and for those concerned about aesthetics, Hall said he has no problem with adding artwork to beautify the storage buildings.
"We'll even have an artist competition to see who can paint the best scenery...so there's a challenge."
A job fair is expected to be held to fill some of the open positions as early as this fall. The main construction is projected to begin mid-2019.