ORANGE COUNTY - The oil and gas industry is continuing to alter the landscape of Orange County and is expected to create a boon to commercial businesses, according to county leaders.
Bobby Fillyaw, executive director of the Orange County Economic Development Corp., attributes the boom to a reviving American economy fueled by cheap and abundant domestic oil and natural gas from hydraulic fracturing, a process commonly known as fracking.
"The projected price of gas is going to remain stable for an outlook of 20 to 30 years," he said. This has led to new industrial sites popping up around the county, particularly in Orange, West Orange and Pinehurst.
A $100 million expansion project at DuPont's Sabine River Works plant in West Orange is already underway and other companies have announced plans for new construction.
Southeast Texas Industries is building a fabrication shop in West Orange similar to the one in Buna, which will add an estimated 50 to 75 jobs. The shops manufacture building materials used in refineries and petrochemical plants.
Sterling Shipyard recently bought property on Humble Island beneath the Rainbow Bridge, where it plans to construct a ship building facility that will add at least 200 jobs to the area.
The Jefferson Energy Co., a crude-oil transporter, is building a landing and transport facility on property owned by the Port of Beaumont on the Orange County side of the Neches River. The refinery built its crude oil terminal on the property last year as part of a $46 million investment.
Enterprise Products Partners, a natural gas and crude oil pipeline company, on the Neches River recently completed a $180 million marine terminal. They plan to add a second dock and significant on-site storage for blending components in the near future.
"There is a lot going on," Fillyaw said. "We should expect in the next one to two years to see even more significant growth (in Orange County) because of the oil and gas industry."