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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, May 25, 202109:00 PM EST

Council approves one-year extension for $542 million liquefied natural gas facility

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The Eagle LNG Partners proposed export facility on the St. Johns River in North Jacksonville is tied a $23 million city tax incentive. 
by: Mike Mendenhall Associate Editor

The Jacksonville City Council approved Houston-based Eagle LNG Partners LLC’s request for another year to start construction on its estimated $542 million liquefied natural gas export facility in North  Jacksonville.

The Council voted 17-0 to extend Eagle LNG’s deadline to begin construction from May 31 this year to May 31, 2022.

The deal is tied to a city incentive of $23 million.

Council approved Ordinance 2021-0241, which authorizes the extension, as part of its May 25 consent agenda.

An Eagle executive said April 22 that coronavirus-related border closures in some Caribbean and Central American countries over the past year and quarantine orders kept the company from completing customer contracts with the government-owned and private utility companies that would receive the LNG shipping from Jacksonville.

“We did lose a year. There’s no question,” said Linda Berndt, Eagle LNG vice president of government and public relations.

“We asked for the year extension because of how slow some of these islands will be in recovery but we want to go sooner than a year.”

Eagle LNG will have until Dec. 31, 2025, to complete the facility on 200 acres at 1632 Zoo Parkway along the St. Johns River with 12 new full-time jobs in place. 

Council voted in December 2019 to award Eagle LNG a Recapture Enhanced Value Grant up to $23 million, based on 50% of the incremental increase in ad valorem taxes, according to a legislative summary filed with the bill.

Eagle’s investment outside the U.S. could be nearly double what it plans in Jacksonville.

Company President Sean Lalani said in November 2019 that Eagle is prepared to spend up to $1 billion for receiving infrastructure in unidentified Central American and Caribbean Island nations.

Eagle’s North Jacksonville facility will use lower volume LNG carrier ships to target small, relatively underserved markets that need less supply to operate than utilities in Asian, North American and European counties, according to company executives.

The company has a relationship with Crowley Maritime Corp.’s LNG group that ships liquefied natural gas from Eagle’s Northeast Florida facility in Maxville.

Crowley ships the LNG to customers in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.

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