(The Center Square) – Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a purported $10 billion investment from energy company Venture Global LNG on Thursday to develop a “carbon capture” liquefied natural gas facility in Cameron Parish.
Edwards said the project will create at least 200 new jobs with average annual salaries of $120,000, along with 2,300 temporary construction jobs. Louisiana Economic Development said the project will also result in 867 lasting indirect jobs.
The facility, known as CP2, aligns with the administration’s “net zero” climate change agenda, Edwards added, and will qualify for two tax incentive programs: Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemptions.
“It is incorporating clean energy technology that reduces the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere, which is significant for our environment,” Edwards, a Democrat, said. “As Louisiana pursues a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, projects that feature carbon capture and sequestration allow our state to sustain industry without sacrificing our long-term carbon-reduction goals.”
The Venture Global facility will purportedly produce 20 million metric tons of liquified natural gas every year, while capturing 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions and storing them underground.
The CP2 site will sit on 650 acres in Cameron Parish and include deep-water access at the Calcasieu Ship Channel, Venture Global CEO Mike Sabel said.
“CP2 will be located in Cameron Parish, adjacent to our existing Calcasieu Pass terminal,” said Sabel. “These two projects, combined with our Plaquemines LNG facility now under construction, represent over $20 billion of investment in the state of Louisiana and will create thousands of good paying jobs.”
Venture Global is a multinational energy company based in Arlington, Virginia. With access to Louisiana’s Quality Jobs incentive program, the firm will qualify for taxpayer-funded cash rebates for well-paying jobs.
The program provides up to a 6% cash rebate of annual gross payroll for new direct jobs for up to 10 years, according to the Louisiana Economic Development. Additional Quality Jobs giveaways include a state sales and use tax rebate on capital expenditures or a 1.5% project facility expense rebate.
The state’s Industrial Tax Exemption program will provide an 80% property tax abatement for the facility for five years, after which Venture Global can receive an 80% property tax abatement for another five years if the state determines the project is meeting its proposed job metrics.
Critics have argued that such tax incentive programs come at a cost.
The Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a free-market think-tank, asserts that states engaging in generous business initiatives are less likely to pursue broad-based economic growth strategies.
“The costs of corporate incentives are borne by taxpayers who finance these subsidies,” a Mercatus study said.
The Louisiana Legislative Auditor presented audit findings for the state’s Quality Jobs incentive program in October, saying the cash rebate program has produced less than half the expected jobs since its inception.
“For all completed or canceled Quality Jobs projects since the program’s inception in 1995, the companies applying for rebates reported to Louisiana Economic Development that they anticipated creating 28,160 jobs, when only 13,210 jobs were created,” the audit said.
The Venture Global announcement follows Edwards’s trip to Scotland last month where he attended a United Nations climate change conference known as COP26.
“I want to be there to meet as many of those people as possible and talk to them about opportunities that they have right here in Louisiana,” he said.