Fourchon director says port has rallied despite spill

by Cara Bayles

The executive director of Port Fourchon says the moratorium on drilling has affected individual tenants, but the port continues to expand.

Speaking before the South Central Industrial Association’s monthly membership meeting on Tuesday, Chett Chiasson said Fourchon, which services 90 percent of all deepwater activity in the Gulf of Mexico, has had a rough ride since it became the emergency operation center in the wake of the BP oil spill.

The six-month federal ban on new offshore-drilling permits that followed the spill posed a challenge to the 250 companies that use the port.


“For us, deepwater is where the action is,” he said. “We feel that the future of this nation’s energy stability rests in our ability to access the resources in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Prior to the moratorium, Chiasson said the port was buzzing with activity, with 15,000 people per month being flown to offshore sites supported by the port. Now, Chiasson says, that number is down 40 percent.

Yet Fourchon is expanding, adding another 400 acres of land, expanding the runway on the South Lafourche Leonard Miller Jr. Airport and supporting the state Transportation Department’s two-lane elevated highway project, which will connect the port to Golden Meadow.

Chiasson credited the port’s success to a property tax, which brings in about $3 million per year, as well as its strategy during the moratorium and the slowdown that followed.

“The Port Commission immediately asked, ‘What can we do to help our tenants?’ ” he said. “We brought in a mind set of, ‘How can we help you?’ ”

The port froze fees and reduced its land rental rates by 30 percent through July 1.

As a result, Chiasson said the port gained tenants instead of losing them.

Still, Chiasson said “we’re hoping the future is bright, but we have not seen that yet.



Posted on October 19, 2011, in Louisiana, Natural Gas, Port Fourchon and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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