You can pin this on the Obama administration, plain and simple. Shell’s $12.5 billion gas-to-liquids facility which was going to be constructed along the Mississippi River south of Baton Rouge had been moving forward for a good couple of years.
And Shell isn’t building it in Texas or Oklahoma instead. It isn’t building the GTL in America, period.
In a stunning setback for Louisiana’s string of investment successes, Shell has announced it is shelving plans to build a massive gas-to-liquids (GTL) complex near Sorrento in Ascension Parish. Initial estimates were that the project represented a $12.5 billion investment for the multinational energy giant in the state. “Shell’s abrupt decision to cancel its North American GTL project just 10 weeks after concluding a multi-year site-selection process is obviously very disappointing news,” says LED Secretary Stephen Moret in a statement to Daily Report. Saying that the state and its economic development apparatus did everything it could to secure the Shell investment, Moret acknowledges, “Shell appears to have determined that a U.S. GTL project is not as certain to be as profitable for their shareholders as other opportunities.” In a separate press release, Shell CEO Peter Voser credits “the Governor of Louisiana, his staff, Parish officials, regulators and the community” for their assistance during the site-selection process, adding that “the company looks forward to continuing a long, successful relationship with the state.” Moret added that there are billions in other construction projects still on the boards for Louisiana, “so Louisiana’s economic outlook remains very bright.” Read Daily Report PM today for further details.
We were at a confidential briefing on the proposed facility two years ago at which a relatively high-ranking Shell official spoke with supreme confidence that an American GTL facility had the potential for a high profit margin, so the new lack of certitude had to come from somewhere.
Like, for example, the EPA’s renewed jihad against fracking, which would make the ready supply of natural gas out of the Haynesville Shale to the Shell GTL plant at a good price something less than a sure thing.
And what else has developed to influence Shell’s thinking? Perhaps the vote taken by Mary Landrieu and her fellow Senate Democrats to kill the filibuster, and therefore pave the way for the Obama administration to stack the DC Circuit Court of Appeals with leftists who will rubber-stamp EPA regulations affecting not just fracking but other things affecting a facility like Shell conceived of building.
It sure didn’t take long after those recent developments for Shell to drop today’s bomb, did it? Perhaps the recent public-policy aggression out of the Obama administration didn’t have anything to do with Shell’s decision – but it sure didn’t help to get Shell to “yes,” now did it?
No, we don’t have a quote from Mary Landrieu on the GTL facility. Maybe she can file a bill in the Senate to force Shell to resurrect the GTL plant like she did with those insurance plans Obamacare killed. Then again the Obamacare bill hasn’t been put on the Senate calendar yet, so that should tell you how much stroke she really has in the Senate to stave off the damage Washington policies do to Louisiana’s economy.