With the Haynesville shale already established and the Tuscaloosa Marine shale quickly emerging, Louisiana has a vast amount of potential for the oil and gas boom. However, concerns are rising around the inadequate infrastructure supporting the thriving energy industry. Maturing roads, waterways, and pipelines may prove to be a setback for industry growth.
The quality of Louisiana’s infrastructure was a major topic of discussion between oil and gas industry leaders and state officials during their meeting in New Orleans on May 27. Billions of dollars have already been invested into Louisiana’s energy industry in recent weeks, and industry observers are concerned that the existing roads, waterways, and pipelines in Louisiana are not capable of supporting the influx of growth. Necessary infrastructure changes would include widening roads, constructing deeper shipping canals, and even creating additional storage for the products of the energy industry.
In recent weeks, federal attention on the energy sector has been geared towards job creation, particularly along U.S. coastlines. This Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) is taking place nationwide, and Tuesday’s meeting focused on Louisiana’s role in the energy industry on a national scale. Over the course of the session, it became clear that improvements in infrastructure will be necessary to maintain the energy industry in Louisiana.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) spoke at the meeting, hosted at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, to promote the creation of jobs in the energy sector. Tuesday’s meeting was a part of this “Call to Coast” campaign she has undertaken along American coasts. Sen. Landrieu is the chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and is joined in her tour across the U.S. by Ernest Moniz, the Energy Department Secretary.
A resident of New Orleans, Sen. Landrieu describes the current infrastructure in Louisiana as “the bones” of the energy industry in the U.S., lamenting that the state has been “starved of the funding it needs” up to this point. She pinpointed several projects, including multiple Interstate and road projects currently in need of completion. Bolstering the infrastructure would actually increase traffic, and therefore bring more business to the area, she claims.
Sen. Landrieu believes that expediting the rules for revenue sharing between states which play key roles in offshore drilling and gas exploration will ensure that these infrastructure projects are completed. A bill that would hasten this process for the Gulf Coast states is currently in the works with her full support.
Sessions for the Quadrennial Energy Review will be taking place across the United States in major energy producing areas. The meeting in Louisiana was the third such meeting, leaving eleven left on the docket across the nation. These sessions seek to create a roadmap for the future of the federal energy policy.