NEW ORLEANS – The regional economic alliance GNO, Inc. has unveiled a new economic development plan for energy this week that Dr. James Richardson of LSU has estimated will create $25 billion in new revenue and potentially add up to 9,000 jobs across the state.
In crafting this plan, GNO, Inc. isolated the segments of Louisiana’s abundant energy resources that are underutilized, yet synergistically linked: deep gas exploration, gasification, and enhanced oil recovery.
The three-pronged approach suggests changing existing tax structures to optimize the production and exploration, and also utilizing existing technology to protect the environment from energy’s hazardous by-products.
The plan begins with an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas unexplored below 15,000 feet, essentially virgin territory where little drilling has been done to date. The resources are known to be there, but the current tax structure makes it uneconomical to explore.
Secondly, Louisiana produces millions of tons of pet-coke in the refining process and exports it. Alternatively, GNO suggests, the state can add value to it by utilizing current technology to produce clean energy and provide a safe means of sequestering a pet-coke by-product, carbon dioxide.
It is that carbon dioxide, which can be captured at a qualified facility, that is the vehicle of the plan’s third stimulus, enhanced oil recovery. GNO insists the state can efficiently recover some of the 10 billion barrels of stranded oil in South Louisiana reservoirs using CO2 from gasification.
GNO Inc. President/CEO Michael Hecht calls the strategy “the best kind of economic development – driving policies to create the conditions for investment and wealth creation to naturally occur. The $25 billion in new revenue accrues to Louisiana just for being smart about our business.”
Vic Lafont, CEO of South Louisiana Economic Council, the regional economic development organization representing the parishes west of GNO, Inc., calls this energy plan more than just regional. “With the push to decrease our historical dependency on foreign oil and the demands for increased oil production in U.S. waters, our statewide oil and gas industry now has to drill further and deeper offshore than ever before.” he says. “This plan can cause a shift in not only how companies drill for oil but also in how they do business, working harder and smarter for the entire state.”
JEDCO Director Lucien Gunter says the plan is “the most important piece of legislation going through the 2009 session. From what I have seen, the potential growth and investment that will occur if this plan passes will change Louisiana. As the rest of the nation struggles with the ever-changing economy, Louisiana is poised to prosper from what has always been right here in our own backyard.”
The complete overview of GNO, Inc.’s energy platform will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, 2020 St. Charles Ave. The session is open to the public. To reserve a spot, contact Rachel Shields at email@example.com, or 504.527.6939.