LONDON, UK — On Friday, Gov. John Bel Edwards and a delegation of state officials and business leaders participated in a daylong series of discussions about the energy transition with top executives of major global companies operating in Louisiana. The discussions covered a wide range of issues affecting the increasingly diversified energy sector, from the Russia-Ukraine war’s impact on European demand for Louisiana natural gas, to the establishment of offshore wind, hydrogen, biomass and renewable fuels industry clusters around the state.
The governor was joined for the second day of economic mission meetings by representatives from LED, the Department of Transportation and Development, the Louisiana Offshore Terminal Authority, the Port of New Orleans, the Port of South Louisiana and Louisiana’s Committee of 100 for Economic Development.
“Today’s meetings with four very important but very different energy companies illustrated just how complex and diversified the energy sector has become, and how uniquely prepared our state is to meet the challenges that presents,” Gov. Edwards said. “Again and again we heard about the high value that major global investors place on our state’s commitment to climate action and all-of-the-above approach to energy. By combining that long-range vision with abundant natural resources, logistical advantages and a skilled workforce, Louisiana can lead America’s clean energy economy for generations to come.”
Cheniere Energy, the No. 1 liquefied natural gas producer in the U.S., began the day’s energy transition dialogue with a discussion about the momentum of LNG in the global economy. Cheniere executives detailed the critical role played in the global energy market by LNG produced and exported in Louisiana – including Cheniere’s Sabine Pass Liquefaction facility, which is adding a third marine berth that is in commissioning to load the world’s largest LNG vessels for export. The governor promoted Louisiana’s logistical advantages for LNG production and export, and reiterated the importance of incorporating carbon capture and sequestration in reducing greenhouse gas emissions during the production process.
“When it comes to American liquefied natural gas, Governor Edwards and Louisiana economic development leaders clearly appreciate LNG’s vital global energy security and environmental benefits and the importance to Louisiana’s economy,” said Corey Grindal, Cheniere’s executive vice president of worldwide trading. “We appreciate the governor’s interest in the critical role that Cheniere and Louisiana play in the global energy landscape.”
The delegation visited Shell Centre, the energy company’s global headquarters in downtown London, for a briefing on the company’s expanding portfolio of clean energy investments. Huibert Vigeveno, Shell executive committee member and downstream director, updated the governor on the company’s Louisiana investments and reiterated Shell’s shared commitment to energy transition leadership and innovation.
“I’m energized about Shell’s future in Louisiana, as we transform our U.S. Gulf Coast assets to meet the needs of our customers,” Vigeveno said. “Building on over 100 years in Louisiana, Shell is investing in its Norco, eismar and Convent facilities to deliver the low carbon fuels and sustainable chemicals our customers demand. I was honored to host Governor Edwards and a delegation of state and Committee of 100 representatives in London to update our progress, including plans to repurpose Shell’s Convent site (as a renewable fuels facility).”
Following a lunch meeting with Louisiana port leaders and the British Ports Association, the delegation met with David Burns, vice president for clean energy project development at Linde, the industrial gases production and engineering company that merged with Praxair in 2018. Linde has positioned itself as a leader in the clean hydrogen industry. Gov. Edwards touted the U.S. Department of Commerce’s recent $50 million grant to H2theFuture, a broad coalition of 25 partners seeking to establish a clean hydrogen energy cluster in south Louisiana.
“We appreciate the opportunity to speak with the governor and his team to reinforce the important role that Louisiana can play in the energy transition,” Burns said. “Linde’s technology can help customers reduce emissions, and we will support the state of Louisiana’s efforts to meet its ambitious climate targets. The chemical and energy sectors are already heavily invested in the state, and we see the support for clean energy leading to the need for significantly more.”
The delegation also met Friday with the leadership of Drax, a bioenergy company with wood pellet production facilities in Louisiana supporting renewable power generation for UK homes and businesses, as well as customers in Europe and Asia.
“Gov. Edwards and the state of Louisiana are taking a lead role in providing a business-friendly environment for clean energy investments in bioenergy that will help deliver climate change solutions,” Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner said. “Louisiana is already supporting renewable energy and energy security through the state’s natural resources and sustainably managed forests, which supply the material we use to produce wood pellets. We’re also exploring options to deploy bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) as part of our ambition to be a world leader in this critical carbon removal technology.”
Gov. Edwards will meet Saturday with Louisiana news media in London to cover the New Orleans Saints’ NFL International Series contest against the Minnesota Vikings. He will visit with business leaders and British dignitaries at Tottenham Stadium before returning to Louisiana later Monday.