Special Feature: Enabling Economic Evolution

After years of courtship, community input, planning and permitting, largescale industrial development is about to transform the Rio Grande Valley’s economic landscape with billions of dollars of investment and thousands of new jobs at the Port of Brownsville.

Three liquified natural gas projects, representing a combined projected investment of $38.75 billion[1] are in the homestretch of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permitting, with final investment decisions expected by late 2019 and 2020. Not to be outdone, Arkansas-based Big River Steel is refining its strategy to locate a $1.6 billion electric arc steel mill at the port. These successes are attracting additional industrial development to the port and Brownsville, supported by a youthful, educated, abundant and motivated workforce. No other domestic maritime complex rivals the Port of Brownsville’s ability to attract and develop logistically focused manufacturing, processing, warehousing and distribution facilities.

All of these projects are situated on the port’s 42-foot deep 17-mile-long channel, where each of these active development opportunities finds affordable land with abundant energy resource options at the Port of Brownsville. Newly available inducements include electrical transmission upgrades delivering 345 kilovolts of electric power directly to the port by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, and the completion of the $1.6 billion Valley Crossing Pipeline (VCP) in late-2018. Owned and operated by Enbridge Inc., VCP’s transport capacity is half the average daily production output of the entire Eagle Ford Shale Basin and more than 10 percent of the average daily production of the entire state of Texas. That amounts to 2.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of clean-burning natural gas for south Texas homes and industry – and 27 million Mexican consumers.

While accomplishing these unprecedented milestones, the port went about quietly setting new tonnage and revenue records in 2018, the most recent complete reporting period. For the second year in a row – and three of the last four years – the port set new highwater marks of success with 11.3 million short tons of total cargo and $24,209,767 of unaudited total operating revenue.

[1] Industrial Info Services, Cameron County, Texas, Looks Toward $44 Billion in Potential Project Starts, Thanks to LNG, (IRR: April 10, 2017)