Motiva Ready for Expansion at Port Arthur
by Mike D. Smith The Beaumont Enterprise, Texas
June 14, 2007
Motiva Enterprises is moving forward with site work at its Port Arthur, Texas, refinery though official word of whether the facility will be chosen for a multibillion-dollar expansion remains months away.
Motiva project integration manager Rick Strouse gave Port of Port Arthur commissioners a status report of the as-yet-proposed project Wednesday after commissioners approved a resolution laying the groundwork for issuing bonds to provide sewage and solid waste disposal for the site.
The "agreement to agree" is similar to other resolutions the port has approved for other projects in the past, port bond counsel Alan Raynor said.
"It's simply evidence of intent assuming everything will be agreed upon between Motiva and the port," Raynor said.
About 400 workers are prepping the site -- off of Savannah Avenue in western Port Arthur, Strouse said.
The work includes "bathtubbing," or digging areas for the new construction. Construction labor should peak with between 4,000 and 5,000 workers in 2009, with startup scheduled for 2010, Strouse said.
Crews expect to begin driving about 50,000 piles into the ground later this summer for additional preparation, Strouse said.
Consultants from Texas A&M University have been called in to examine traffic flow in the area. A stop light could be added along Savannah Avenue as crews ramp up construction, Strouse said.
Strouse said he will go before Motiva's board about the project as early as the end of this month.
"We should get some positive feedback within the next few weeks," Strauss said.
Final corporate approval for the project could come by September, he said.
Port commissioners granted the port's first-ever 100 percent tax abatement for the estimated $3.5 billion to $5 billion Motiva project in January.
The abatement agreement requires Motiva to make a concerted effort to hire local subcontractors and direct labor for the project.
Port board secretary-treasurer Linda Turner-Spears emphasized that the port should monitor the project closely to ensure Motiva follows those rules.
"We need to have a powwow so I can understand because there are some people working in your facilities that aren't enhancing the community," Turner-Spears told Strouse.
Strouse said Motiva has "big initiatives" to hire as many local workers and subcontractors as possible.
In other port business, commissioners approved a draft of the port's fiscal 2005-06 audit. The port ended the fiscal year with a net revenue gain of $485,000, the audit shows.
Other highlights included an increase of $194,000 in terminal revenue to more than $4.3 million; property taxes went up $534,000 to about $4.1 million; loading and unloading expenses went up $114,000 to about $1.6 million; and salaries increased $30,000 to more than $950,000.
The port board's next scheduled meeting will be July 25.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Beaumont Enterprise, Texas. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.