Contractors receive updates on Entergy Orange and Port Arthur LNG construction

Published 12:06 am Thursday, June 15, 2023

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PORT ARTHUR — After being introduced at Wednesday’s Contractor’s Business Development Group, Ricky Coles Jr. jokingly called himself a high school principal. But then the senior subcontract administrator for Bechtel explained why.

“We go out, find a contractor, then you get me — high school principal,” he said. “If you do something wrong, I’m there. If you do something right, I’m there. But I’m there to guide you through that process.”

Bechtel was contracted by Sempra LNG to construct the Port Arthur LNG facility.

And Wednesday, the keynote speaker said he was going to take a different approach from those who have spoken before him and talk more about navigating the process of securing a contract “so that you can figure out how to go from seeing the project out there, seeing what’s available, to how you can actually get through the door.”

Coles told the audience at the Carl A. Parker Multipurpose Center that he would say some things that were painful, but all were reality.

“Some of you have businesses that are not quite large enough to pursue some of the contracts, so you find that strategic partner … so that you can,” he said. “It’s not that you can’t.”

Coles said one of the most important things for contractors is to know where to start. Currently at the Port Arthur LNG site, he said, there are opportunities ranging from $7,000 to $7 million — albeit most of those are around smaller projects.

“One of the things you need to look for when bidding on a contract is to make sure what you have in mind to build the pieces you need to bid,” he said. “The goal is to be successful, and the way you get successful is to try and build that vibration between us and the community so we can bring all of the pieces together.”

Officials with Sempra previously said they expect construction of the Port Arthur LNG facility to take more than four years and provide a number of opportunities in the form of jobs and services. At peak construction, more than 5,000 skilled jobs are expected to be created.

“I went out on site at Sempra Friday and it was quite interesting,” said Travis Woods, chairperson of the Contractor’s Business Development Group. “They’ve got it happening out there.”

Entergy’s Orange County Facility

Following the April groundbreaking on the billion-dollar project in Bridge City, contractors are anticipating work on Entergy Texas’ Orange County Advanced Power Station.

The power plant will combine natural gas and hydrogen to produce enough electricity for 230,000 homes.

Woods said he received a call from a friend in St. Louis this week asking about a meeting in Orange, where Entergy officials could meet with contractors.

Woods said he called Entergy, and that meeting has not been announced yet.

But, Woods advised, interested contractors “need to stay on top of that.”

That and other potential opportunities are the focus of the Contractor’s Business Development Group, hosted on the third Wednesday of each month by the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce.

— Written by Monique Batson