The energy boom that has North Dakota boasting the country’s lowest unemployment rate — and skyrocketing real estate prices — could soon do the same for the Gulf Coast.
Dozens of facilities are set to sprout up along the Louisiana and Texas coasts to liquefy natural gas from shale formations as far away as Pennsylvania and Ohio for export around the world. The energy boom, which is turning the U.S. into a net exporter, could drive liquefaction capacity to an eight-fold increase in the next five years alone, experts say. That could mean hundreds of thousands of new jobs along the Gulf Coast, by some estimates.
“From an economic development standpoint, it is going to be huge,” said Ragan Dickens, spokesman for the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association. “It is incredibly exciting to know the region will see this influx of new jobs.”
More than 110 liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities now operate in the U.S., some exporting the super-cooled liquid, while others turn natural gas into an energy form that occupies up to 600 times less space than natural gas for vehicle fuel or industrial use. Worldwide, LNG trade is expected to more than double by 2040, according to the Energy Information Administration.
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