PORT OF IBERIA — Oil and gas equipment maker Logan Industries says it will be hiring more people to staff a $4.5 million facility the company is building at the Port of Iberia to house high-dollar equipment destined for Logan’s clients in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.
Port Executive Director Craig Romero said Logan Industries’ decision to build on 15 acres of waterfront property fits with his and the port commission’s strategy of signing up tenants that are tied to the busier sectors in energy: deepwater oil and gas; liquefied natural gas; and petrochemical.
So far, Logan has hired about 15 people from south Louisiana, Romero said. Two of those hired were laid off from oil services giant Schlumberger. The company says it plans to hire more people in the coming months.
A few hundred yards from the Logan site, crews at Dynamic Industries continue to build components for Sasol’s multibillion-dollar ethane cracker project in Westlake. Just to the south, Chart Industries and Chemicals Inc. is gearing up to produce more cryogenic “cold boxes” for LNG plants in southwest Louisiana.
And less than a mile north, Bayou Companies is undergoing a $39 million upgrade at the company’s coating facility on Curtis Lane, where specialized coating will be applied to pipe that will carry oil and gas from the deepwater in the Gulf of Mexico.
Standing in stark contrast to the port’s active companies are those like Nabors Offshore. Across the street from Logan’s construction site, shallow-water drilling rigs sit stacked. Romero said Nabors has one rig active in the gulf currently.
“That segment of the industry is not going well now,” Romero said Wednesday at the ceremonial gold-shovel event for Logan’s project.
A subsidiary of Netherlands-based Doedijns Group International, Logan Industries has an equipment manufacturing plant in Hempstead, Texas. The company’s director of business development, Patrick Vilyus, said the company targeted Lafayette as the place to locate in Louisiana.
Then company officials walked into the waiting arms of Romero, who offered financing and a new site the port developed a few years ago. Logan Industries signed a lease to be located on waterfront property, even though access to water wasn’t a requirement for the work they do.
“Just by telling people we’re opening at the port has opened up opportunities,” Vilyus said.
The section of land where Logan Industries is located opened up a few years ago after the commissioners excavated tons of dirt to extend the waterway. The expansion was completed during lucrative times for the energy industry, when the price of a barrel of oil was more than double the $36 to $37 it fetched Wednesday afternoon.
After oil prices started heading south in 2014, companies that had signed up as tenants backed out: Danos, a decadesold service company from Larose, chose to locate at the former McDermott yard in Amelia. At about the same time, Louisiana Coating and Blasting of Coteau backed out of its deal with the port.
At the event Wednesday, Iberia Parish President Larry Richard alluded to the job losses over the last 22 months.
“We need the employment” that Logan will provide, Richard said.