TEDA Secures Potential $4B LNG Project with China for Terrebonne, Lafourche Ports
The final week of Steve Vassallo’s tenure as chief executive officer of the Terrebonne Economic Development Authority (TEDA) has resulted in a project for Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes potentially worth billions.
Two Chinese investors, with whom Vassallo has forged alliances via his sister-city initiative between Terrebonne Parish and Weihai City, China, have pledged $250 million each for a liquid natural gas (LNG) project and related spin-offs at the Port of Terrebonne and Port Fourchon.
Vassallo said this initial $500 million investment could lead to a project worth at least $4 billion, much of which he expects to be funded by American joint venture partners.
“We have been priming the pump with the Chinese for the previous 18 months,” Vassallo said. “In July of this year, I led a delegation to Beijing to meet with prospective investors for this project, and in August I led a subsequent delegation to Houston for a follow-up meeting with associates of the Beijing prospects. With this week’s pledges, we now have a live project, and I am truly thrilled. Louisiana Economic Development (LED) is fully on board, of course, as this constitutes one of the largest potential foreign investments in the history of our state.”
Vassallo added that more than 1,000 jobs would be created in the construction of the LNG project, with many more to follow in day-to-day operations.
Donna Washington, interim chief executive officer of TEDA, will oversee the project’s development until a permanent replacement is designated for the outgoing Vassallo.
“I am very excited about the LNG investment because it is a result of TEDA’s five-year, sister-city agreement,” Washington said. “The fact that we are only in year two of this agreement, and something of this magnitude has already developed as a result of TEDA’s efforts and the parish’s delegation to Weihai, is truly remarkable. I look forward to future economic development successes with great enthusiasm.”
Vassallo’s success with mainland China is the latest in a career-spanning series of international economic development milestones. Prior to joining TEDA in 2011, his record included the establishment of alliances with Taiwan, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Italy, Mexico, Japan, and the Galapagos Islands. In 1998, Sister Cities International recognized the alliance he spearheaded between Madison, Mississippi, and Solleftea, Sweden, as the “Best First Year Program Worldwide.”
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