PARIS – On Wednesday, Gov. John Bel Edwards meets with U.S. Ambassador to France Denise Campbell Bauer and broadens the scope of a weeklong economic development and resilience mission in the Netherlands and France to include high-level meetings about energy transition and supply chain investments in Louisiana. Prior to his Wednesday afternoon meeting with the ambassador, the governor is scheduled to discuss business expansion opportunities with the Port of New Orleans and Terminal Investment Limited, one of the world’s leading container terminal developers. He also is set to explore with TotalEnergies, which has petrochemical and LNG interests in Louisiana, how the state can benefit from the company’s plan to become what it calls “a world class energy transition player.”
The governor set the stage for the economic development focus of his first full day in France by meeting with top Shell executives on his last full day in Amsterdam. Gov. Edwards and Robin Mooldijk, Shell executive vice president, Chemicals and Products, discussed the industry-wide shift to cleaner forms of energy and potential for new investments in Louisiana.
“Louisiana is ready to play a vital role in the global energy transition that is getting underway,” Gov. Edwards said. “Climate change is already affecting our state more than any other. As an energy state with a skilled manufacturing workforce, abundant natural resources and a strong vision for the clean energy future, we can create and support game-changing solutions that work for Louisiana and offer impacts far beyond our own borders. We appreciate our long and productive partnership with Shell and are excited to continue that collaboration as we move forward into a low-carbon future.”
One of the world’s leading energy companies, Shell has operated in Louisiana since the 1920s. It currently employs almost 3,000 workers at locations across Louisiana and has about 4,000 retirees in the state as well. The company operates major production facilities in Norco, Geismar and Port Allen, and its Shell Exploration & Production affiliate in New Orleans is responsible for the company’s oil and natural gas activity in the Gulf of Mexico.
The company has set climate goals that include net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 as it invests in the production of low-carbon fuels, solar and wind power, and hydrogen. Those efforts sync with Gov. Edwards’ commitment to positioning Louisiana as a leader in the changing energy landscape. The governor has called for Louisiana to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, and his Climate Initiatives Task Force has devised the state’s first-ever action plan to address climate change while keeping Louisiana economically competitive.
“Finding solutions to the opportunities and challenges posed by the energy transition requires collaboration between governments, business and society,” Mooldijk said. “To deliver on Shell’s Powering Progress strategy, we must work together to identify and realize the technologies and innovation needed to accelerate society’s decarbonization journey. With over 100 years of history in Louisiana, Shell remains committed to working with Gov. John Bel Edwards and other state leaders to identify sustainable energy pathways that will enable us to thrive along the Gulf Coast for another century."
Mooldijk and Emma Lewis, Shell’s senior vice president, U.S Gulf Coast, were among the company executives hosting the Louisiana delegation. Gov. Edwards was accompanied by officials of Louisiana Economic Development and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, and others.
“As it has been for generations, energy remains a key industry for Louisiana’s continued economic growth,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “Shell and its affiliates have been important partners in Louisiana’s economic success for many years, and even in our changing energy landscape, there are opportunities for Shell to further extend its presence in our state. We appreciate Shell’s commitment to Louisiana and look forward to our continued partnership.”
Gov. Edwards thanked Shell officials for the company’s recent donation to Louisiana State University and reiterated his interest in seeing the company and the university collaborate on global energy innovation. In June, Shell USA announced a $27.5 million energy- and science-related donation to LSU, the largest gift ever from a for-profit corporation to the state’s flagship university. Shell dedicated $25 million to launching the LSU Institute for Energy Innovation and $2.5 million for construction of the LSU Our Lady of the Lake Interdisciplinary Science Building.
The meeting also gave the governor an opportunity to get an update on Shell’s plans for its shuttered refinery in Convent. The state Board of Commerce and Industry was informed earlier this year that the company has taken the facility off the market and is considering reinvesting in it as an alternative fuels complex.