New report looks at how New Orleans region can make the most of U.S. energy boom

It seems like you can’t go to a business meeting, luncheon or conference in New Orleans these days without hearing about how the U.S. energy boom is going to mean big money for south Louisiana. But just how can the region make the most of the opportunity before it?

A report by a Tulane University energy expert released on Tuesday (March 25) by regional economic development group Greater New Orleans Inc. aims to answer that question.

Among other points it recommends that Louisiana focus on affordable and labor-intensive workforce development and pursue projects in areas that haven’t been explored in the past, such as plastics molding.

At the same time, the report notes that the energy industry is inherently cyclical, and south Louisiana needs to attract projects that rely on diverse feedstock and technology. The region should also dedicate funding for more energy transportation options for companies seeking to move product.

Chevron Corp. provided funding for the report. Eric Smith, a Tulane University professor and associate director of the Tulane Energy Institute, completed the research for the report.

GNO Inc. President Michael Hecht said in a statement that the goal of the research is to learn from past energy booms and busts to ensure the current cycle has lasting effects on the regional economy.

“Louisiana is the epicenter of an energy boom that will put America on a true path to energy independence,” Hecht said. “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.”

Check back today for a more in-depth look at the report. In the meantime, read the report for yourself and highlight any findings or ask questions in the comment section.

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