Lafayette-based EcoServ, a specialty cleaner for offshore energy companies, has invested about $12 million in a new multipurpose facility at Port Fourchon.

The new site features 1,600 feet of dockside space and employs close to 100 of the company’s 300 workers.

“Most of our core business is deepwater, so even with the oil downturn, the economy downturn, our core business is stable,” said David Lacoste, vice president of waste collection facilities at EcoServ. “It’s not as robust as it was, but it’s pretty stable.”

The company began construction a year ago, designing the project in two phases, he said. After the first phase, EcoServ decided to complete the project, anticipating that oil prices would recover, a process that should begin over the next six to nine months.

As the prices recover, the offshore industry will see more activity, Lacoste said. EcoServ will be ready.

The company has added the space needed to handle multiple offshore service vessels, which typically run from 250 to 350 feet, Lacoste said. Those vessels carry drilling mud and completion fluid, among other items, out to the rigs and return carrying the waste products.

EcoServ off-loads the waste products and cleans the compartments in the boat, so that it can return to the rig as quickly as possible. That’s important because the oil companies are paying tens of thousands of dollars a day to lease the vessels.

In addition to handling exploration and production waste, EcoServ’s facility is permitted to handle and ship for disposal a number of waste items, including naturally occurring radioactive materials brought to the surface in drilling; any unused dry material, like the cement used in setting casing in the well; lightbulbs containing mercury; paints and solvents.

By making waste disposal a one-stop operation, EcoServ can turn boats more quickly, he said.

Otherwise the vessels have to make a number of stops to drop off that material.