New gas projects help globalize the U.S. market.
Lee Van Atta is a senior director with R.W. Beck Inc. in Arlington, Va. Email him at email@example.com
Deep in the heart of Louisiana, outside of a small town called Port Barre (population 2,349) a group of contractors is working around the clock on a site that sits atop a salt dome formation located deep underground. When several drilling rigs sprouted up, it closely resembled a traditional oil and gas exploration—a common sight in these parts. But the rigs operated for months, drilling to a depth of about 14,000 feet with no chance or intention of finding oil or gas.
Later this year, the site, with its two underground salt caverns, will become the Bobcat Gas Storage Project—one of the newest independent natural gas storage developments in the United States.
With a total construction cost of approximately $200 million, Bobcat represents a major piece of energy infrastructure, but to some degree amounts to a simple bet. Bobcat’s investors are betting on high natural gas prices and continued strong volatility in prices.