NEW IBERIA — Another oil and gas service company will expand operations at the Port of Iberia, officials announced Wednesday.
Bayou Companies is embarking on $39 million in upgrades to the pipe-coating facility at the port. The upgrades will provide specialty anticorrosion coating for deepwater pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico.
A new facility will use state-of-the-art equipment in a 56,000-square-foot building on which construction will begin in September, said David Taldo, director of operations at the port plant. The new facility, which will sit on the grounds where Bayou Companies has operated for decades, should be completed in early 2016, Taldo said.
He said a nondisclosure agreement with the oil and gas company whose future projects prompted the expansion prevented him from releasing many specifics.
He said the coating yard at the port currently has about 300 employees, and the new facility will need more trained workers. Taldo said the company will contact Louisiana Economic Development for its LED FastStart job training program. He said Bayou Companies will target out-of-work oil and gas hands who lost their jobs during the yearlong downturn.
“These are specialized jobs,” Taldo said. “You don’t just get these people off the street. You have to train them.”
The new coating plant should lead to half a billion dollars in economic impact to the Acadiana region, Taldo said. He said Bayou Companies is forecasting busy years through 2018.
The announcement was made Wednesday at the monthly meeting of the Iberia Parish Council, where Port of Iberia Executive Director Craig Romero said the $1.5 million the council put up for port improvements was instrumental in Bayou Companies’ and other companies’ decisions to expand at the port.
Bayou Companies, a division of Aegion, has four coating plants: two in New Iberia; one in Alberta, Canada; and one in Bakersfield, California. The corporate headquarters is in Conroe, Texas.
Bayou Companies’ announcement Wednesday was a beam of light in some dark days for the oil and gas sector. Some companies — oil and gas producers as well as service companies — are on the ropes. Oil prices have declined about 60 percent since June 2014, when the per-barrel price of oil was above $100.
On Wednesday, West Texas Intermediate oil slated for October delivery was less than $39.
Bayou Companies’ plans marked the fourth expansion at the Port of Iberia made public this month.
At a port Board of Commissioners meeting Aug. 18, three oil and gas service companies told board members that they were either locating their businesses at the port or they were expanding current operations.
All three companies asked for port help in building infrastructure or stabilizing the waterfront yards for industrial usage.
Chart Energy and Chemicals Inc. told the board that it was upgrading its port facility with a $40 million investment. Chart, an international company, manufactures cryogenic equipment used in LNG plants, which turn natural gas to a supercooled liquid for transport.
The other two companies are Logan Industries International Corporation, part of the DGI, or Doedijns Group International, and Ram Design LLC.
The good news comes after a string of disappointments for the port: Dynamic Industries’ west yard at the port was shuttered after a dispute between management and the former owner of Dynamic, Michel Moreno, who owns the property. The port property is now tied up in a separate legal dispute between Moreno and Goldman Sachs Bank, which loaned Moreno $58.4 million and booked the fabrication yard as collateral along with other land Moreno owns in Baton Rouge.
In early 2014, Danos, a 68-year-old service company, abandoned plans to build a fabrication yard at the port when a yard became available in Amelia.