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Showers and thnderstorms will increase tonight into Friday as a slow moving cold front and upper trough move into the area. Some heavy rains will be possible.
Lakes Area Forecast.....
Tonight.....Mostly cloudy with a 60% coverage of thunderstorms. ...
New oil plant would bring jobs to Orange County
ORANGE COUNTY - by Lauren Huet
The Orange County Commissioners Court approved tax abatements for Jefferson Energy to build a 250 million dollar oil processing plant. Jefferson Energy is already operating and expansion would bring hundreds of new jobs to Southeast Texas and help cut the country's dependency on foreign oil.
"On the bottom of the center of the rail car is what we call a B-O-V valve. We use a cam-lock fitting adn we attach it to the rail car directly," said Randy Adair, the manager of Jefferson Energy's terminal across from the Port of Beaumont on the Orange County side.
He's pointing to one of 120 unloading stations along railroad tracks at the site. They allow workers to unload oil from a rail car and pump it into holding tanks. The oil is processed and sent to refineries.
Jefferson Energy has almost completed phase one of construction on the oil processing plant, and has had ten unit trains bring oil to the plant since December. The trains are bringing bitumen oil from shale fields in Canada.
"The oil industry has changed in recent years through horizontal drilling, and fracking, and the shale oil plays in North America," said Director of Government Affairs for Jefferson Energy, Mark Viator.
"More sweet crude is available and we're having to import less foreign crude." "Many people think fossil fuels are in decline, but that's not the case," said Viator. "In North America we have over 2,300 billion barrels worth of shale oil that's available and accessible."
Viator says, that means freedom from dependency on foreign oil. "The United States has had a dependency on foreign crude. We have the opportunity to be able to be self-dependent on North American crude oil for years. So, we're looking forward to being able to have this facility be a part of that," said Viator.
Jefferson Energy hopes to start building phase two, the new 250 million dollar processing plant, soon. However, it's waiting on additional incentives from the state. If the company does build the new plant, it would create 75 permanent jobs and about 300 to 400 construction jobs. Something Orange County Commissioner Jody Crump says would be "an absolute positive" for the county.
"Once we've got those new employees coming in, we've got those contractors building it, we know our sales tax is going to start changing, our restaurants are going to start being busier, our new homes are going to start being built for those employees," said Crump.
"Jefferson County, and the Port of Beaumont have been great in assisting us, as well as Orange County," said Viator. "So, we hope to be able to complete our projects here."
If Jefferson Energy does build the expansion, it will be finished in two years, and will bring in 200 to 300 thousand barrels of crude oil a day.