Is Motiva's Port Arthur Expansion Underway?
by Heather Nolan The Beaumont Enterprise, Texas
September 06, 2007
Motiva Enterprises remains tight-lipped about its proposed $3.5 billion refinery expansion project in Port Arthur, a Louisiana company announced Wednesday it had scored a contract to begin construction.
GROUP Contractors of Baton Rouge, La., said in an e-mailed news release that it had won a Motiva contract to drive 12,000 pilings as part of a project that will make the refinery the nation's largest.
However, Motiva officials Wednesday continued to refuse to confirm that the expansion was moving forward.
"The expansion is still proposed until the end of September," said Sue Parsley, Motiva external affairs manager. "It's not a done deal yet, so we can't make any comments until the owners meet."
Nevertheless, a GROUP Contractors satellite office has been set up in Nederland for its $14 million piling project, the Wednesday release states.
Shane Kirkpatrick, GROUP Contractors' operations manager, said his company began driving pre-cast concrete pilings at the expansion site in August and should be finished by June 2008.
According to The Enterprise archives, Port Arthur refinery manager Todd Monette told the Golden Triangle Business Roundtable in January that the expansion should bring 4,500 temporary construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs to the region.
Motiva president and chief executive officer William Welte declined to make the announcement in a recent appearance in Beaumont.
On Sept. 4, Welte told an audience at the Golden Triangle Business Roundtable's contractor safety awards luncheon that the company still is "studying" the expansion of its refinery in Port Arthur, but Motiva is "well on (its) way to making this project a reality."
"We've been working extremely hard," he said at the time. "A project of this magnitude takes a lot of work and this expansion is bigger than most refineries in the United States."
Under the proposed expansion, refinery capacity would more than double to 600,000 barrels daily.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Beaumont Enterprise, Texas. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.