ANGLETON — County commissioners approved tax breaks for a pair of projects expected to generate nearly $2 billion for the county.

Commissioners green-lighted a 10-year, 100-percent property tax abatement for a proposed fourth processing unit — called a train — added to Freeport LNG’s liquefaction project at its Quintana terminal.

At the same meeting Tuesday, commissioners approved a seven-year, 100-percent property tax abatement to Praxair Inc. for an argon, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide manufacturing facility it is considering building in Brazoria County.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Stacy Adams was the lone dissenting vote both times, saying he cannot support 100 percent abatements.

“I’m not against abatements, I just don’t want 10-year, 100 percent,” Adams said. “I could have supported five years and once they’re producing, we should have had a graduated scale.

“When a new business comes in there’s a cost to the county, and taxpayers need to start receiving part of that income in year six rather than year 11.”

The remaining commissioners supported Freeport LNG’s venture, which will bring $1.75 billion to the county, as well as Praxair’s, which could generate more than $100 million if Brazoria County is chosen, according to the tax abatement.

Freeport LNG filed last year for another permit with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission after executives determined a need for a fourth train, Commercial Director Lance Goodwin said. Freeport LNG expects to formally file its permit request with the commission by the end of this year, receiving the permits by the end of next year.

“The train will be identical to 1, 2 and 3,” Goodwin said of the unit, which will convert natural gas into a liquid to be piped into ships when it starts operations in 2021.

The four-year construction period of the fourth train will bring more than 1,000 on-site engineering and construction jobs and 53 full-time employees, in addition to the 4,000 construction jobs and $12.5 billion the project already promises, Goodwin said.

“The 10-year tax abatement is absolutely critical for Freeport LNG to attract our export customers and secure financing for projects in and out of Texas,” Goodwin said. “We are based in a very stiff competition environment. … The demand and need for LNG is finite.”

The company originally built its Quintana terminal to receive liquefied natural gas by ship from overseas. However, the drop in price of domestic natural gas made importing the fuel less necessary, prompting the company to retool as an export facility.

The first train will start operation in September 2018. The second train should follow suit five months later, and the third train comes online six months after that.

Praxair also is considering Harris and Galveston counties for its $104 million facility, as well as various sites in Louisiana, according to the tax abatement application.

The project would bring 15 permanent jobs to Brazoria County, as well as 50 to 70 jobs at the peak of construction.

Erinn Callahan is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0150.

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