Keane: Rio Grande LNG will be the largest privately funded infrastructure project in Texas

By David Keane

Rio Grande Guardian, Jul 9, 2022


Somebody said the wind was going to be blowing and I didn’t believe ‘em. I think every time I come down the wind is blowing.


Now, today represents the culmination of several years of work to pull together the remarkable partnership between NextDecade, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Port of Brownsville.


Our partnership is remarkable. It is remarkable because it is a demonstration of a public-private partnership that would not have happened without the cooperation and collaboration of all three parties.


As many of you know, the Port of Brownsville is the only deep water port located on the U.S.-Mexico border that provides a full range of maritime services to ensure an efficient and timely cargo delivery worldwide. This is one of the reasons NextDecade chose this location to build what will be, when fully operational, the largest liquefied natural gas export facility in the United States. (Applause)


As you know, demand is growing rapidly. For example, to date liquefied natural gas demand is about 440 million tons per annum. That number could increase to more 660 million tons by 2030. Meaning, the market might need multiple LNG faculties the size of Rio Grande LNG to meet growing global demand.


While a major source of growth is Europe due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and a number of European countries seeking to replace Russian gas with LNG, we should not forget the Asia-Pacific region.


According to the gas exporting countries forum, Asia-Pacific will account for highest share of global gas imports by 2050. Asia is home to the fastest growing middle class in the world. They are hungry for energy. But not just any energy. As countries strive to meet their climate goals they are looking for ways to reduce their carbon emissions. And I am proud to say that the Rio Grande LNG project is expected to offer one of the most competitively priced, lowest carbon intensive LNG products in the world.


We plan to make Rio Grande LNG one of the most sustainable LNG export projects by combining mission reductions associated with our carbon capture and storage project, utilizing responsibly sourced natural gas and our pledge to use net zero electricity. We expect Rio Grande LNG to produce a lower carbon intensive LNG and provide a more sustainable product to our customers around the world.


As an example of our sustainability pledge, when Rio Grande LNG is fully operational we expect to reduce the plant’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than five million tons per annum. This represents more than a 90 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the plant when it was first designed. (Applause)


In addition to being an environmentally sustainable project, Rio Grande LNG will provide significant economic benefits to the county, state, and country. For example, just during the four years of construction the Rio Grande LNG project is expected to increase the GDP in Cameron County by $6 billion. (Applause) In Texas by $23 billion, and in the United States by as much as $35 billion. (Applause). And I am going to say, that those numbers were based on a study that was done in 2015. So, the numbers have increased since then. And we will be doing another study and I share that with you when it is completed.


That also will include high paying jobs here in the Valley. As a matter of fact, Rio Grande LNG is the largest privately funded infrastructure project in the state of Texas. And NextDecade is proud to be in the Rio Grande Valley for a long time. (Applause)


In closing, I want to say that by working together in partnership with the department of the Army, with the Port, with the community, that we have demonstrated that our participation here today can make great things happen. So, thank you very much.


Editor’s Note: The above commentary was given by David Keane, senior vice president of policy and corporate affairs at NextDecade. Keane made his comments at a signing agreement ceremony between the Port of Brownsville and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on July 6, 2022. Phase 2 of the Brazos Island Harbor Channel Improvement Project will see the channel deepened from 42 feet to 52 feet.


Originally posted on Rio Grande Guardian.

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