The Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism (EDT) on Mar. 21, announced the approval of a Texas Enterprise Zone project designation for an application submitted on behalf of Keppel AmFELS, Inc. (Keppel AmFELS) by the City of Brownsville. The capital investment project is estimated to result in a $27.6 million net benefit (after-tax abatement) for the city. The announcement noted that Keppel AmFELS would enable the retention of 500 jobs in Brownsville, ultimately impacting economic development within the region.
Keppel AmFELS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine, a world leader in providing total solutions to the offshore, marine and energy industries with a global network of yards and offices. In Brownsville, Keppel AmFELS focuses on the construction, refurbishment, conversion, life extension and repair of a complete range of platforms and vessels for the oil, gas, renewable energy, transport, and industrial sectors, as well as the Jones Act market.
Mohamed Sahlan Bin Salleh, President of Keppel AmFELS, said, “We are pleased to be designated as a Texas Enterprise Zone project. As one of the largest employers in Brownsville, we are proud to support job creation and retention in partnership with the state of Texas. People are our most important asset and we have developed a highly skilled workforce over the years with training and apprenticeship programs. Keppel AmFELS is also currently undertaking several Jones Act-compliant projects, including in the offshore wind sector, and we work with an ecosystem of American suppliers, further supporting the growth of the domestic industry.”
The Port of Brownsville has been home to Keppel AmFELS since 1990, bringing thousands of jobs and opportunities to the Rio Grande Valley. Keppel AmFELS is the leading manufacturer of oil platforms, container ships and wind turbine installation ships. Currently, Keppel AmFELS employs over 1,400 employees of which close to 78% are Brownsville residents.
“We are grateful for the long-standing commitment Keppel AmFELS has had to Brownsville. This project will enable Brownsville and Keppel AmFELS to continue to work together to create opportunities for our region,” said Mayor Trey Mendez.
The Texas Enterprise Zone Program is an economic development tool by which local communities’ partner with the State of Texas to encourage job creation and capital investment in economically distressed areas of the state by allowing for a reimbursement of the state portion of sales and use tax for qualified purchases. For a business to receive benefits under the program, the local community must initially nominate a business to enterprise project designation. Communities are limited in the number of project nominations so it is important to choose the projects that will have the most impact on the community, which Keppel AmFELS is.