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Port Fourchon adding land, jobs to meet demand

PORT FOURCHON, La. - Less than two years ago, it was open water and a pump ran 24 hours a day to build up sediment.

Now, Slip C at Port Fourchon is ready for construction.

"It's creating over 15,000 linear feet of waterfront and associated acreage, about 280 acres of developable property," said Chett Chiasson, Executive Director of the Greater Lafourche Port Commission. "So that's allowing for the expansion for the needs of the deep water oil and gas industry."

Chiasson said those needs are growing every day. He anticipates another 15 rigs coming into the area in the next few years and, along with them, 45 to 50 new large vessels.

Fourchon services 90 percent of all deep water activity in the Gulf of Mexico.

Harvey Gulf is one company that's building more facilities to accommodate the need.

"We see it real strong through 2016, purely alone by the contracts we have to service our own clients, as well as the contracts put in place for the drilling units in the production facilities being built to help produce additional oil and gas," said CEO Shane Guidry.

Harvey Gulf alone plans to add 650 new jobs in the next few years - jobs that pay up to $70,000 annually.

One of the biggest challenges, said Chiasson, is finding enough people to fill the positions.

"I believe we can get the people to come in and provide those warm bodies that we need and those good, talented workers to do the good things that we do in this area," he said.

Even before the first building goes up on Slip C, there are plans to keep growing the port. Permits have already been submitted to build Slip D, and the pumps pumping sediment could be back in the next couple months.

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