New Study Outlines Strategies for Maximizing Energy Boom


New Orleans — Today, The Future of Energy – A Report on the Impact of Energy Activity on the State’s Economy, was released. The report, completed by Professor Eric Smith, Associate Director of The Tulane Energy Institute for Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.) analyzes the causes of the current energy boom and discusses ways to maximize economic opportunity, while analyzing key takeaways from past boom & bust cycles.

“Louisiana is the epicenter of an energy boom that will put America on a true path to energy independence,” said Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “However, in order to truly maximize this opportunity, we must learn from past energy cycles, in order to ensure that gains are consolidated and sustained.”

“Louisiana must coordinate activities in the downstream market and ensure transportation infrastructure is prepared for added volume of material going through the Port of New Orleans,” said Professor Eric Smith, Associate Director of The Tulane Energy Institute. “We also need to support efforts to qualify our regional workforce.”

Funding for this report was generously provided by Chevron.

The report identifies the following recommendations for maximizing Louisiana’s energy boom:

  • Focus on affordable and labor intensive workforce development
  • Promote value-add opportunities never historically explored (e.g. plastics molding)
  • Expand / Improve infrastructure including pipelines, barge systems, and harbor dredging
  • Promote opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship in energy

The report also identifies key takeaways from past boom and bust cycles:

  • The energy economy is cyclical
  • Global competitive advantages will shift again
  • Reliance upon a single product, technology, or feedstock is inherently risky
  • Creating downstream value added opportunities will be the key to extending the boom beyond the immediate commodity conversion stage
  • Optionality in transportation (rail, barge, ship, and pipeline) will be necessary to take advantage of new hydrocarbon feed stocks. Rail and port facilities will need to be followed closely to make sure we maintain viable options. Execution of our project backlog will require new training facilities focused first on skilled construction labor, longer term on skilled production workers.

The findings of this study will inform GNO, Inc.’s plans to recruit and retain energy companies in the region. A proposed plan of action includes:

  • Coordinate transportation infrastructure
  • Support downstream plastics products
  • Incentives for downstream packaging
  • Partner with entities actively working with stakeholder companies
  • Expand workforce recruitment and training efforts
  • Build capacity of small business and other suppliers

The accompanying presentation can be found here.

The full report can be found here.