Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) has been making quite a splash in Jacksonville lately. Clean Energy Fuels Corporation plans to build a terminal to supply LNG to cargo ships in Jacksonville, the first of its type in the nation. The plant will be built on Jacksonville’s north aside on Zoo Parkway and is expected to be completed in 2015. This would be the first LNG facility on the Eastern seaboard to specifically supply LNG for the maritime, trucking and rail industries.
According to the Center for Liquefied Gas, liquefied natural gas is natural gas that is cooled to -260° Fahrenheit until it becomes a liquid. Converting natural gas to LNG reduces its volume by about 600 times – essentially, from the volume of a beach ball to the volume of a Ping-Pong ball – making it feasible to transport it via cargo ships. Once delivered to its destination, it’s warmed up so that it returns to its original gaseous state.
Natural gas is the fastest growing fuel sector in the U.S. today, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Natural gas is used to heat and cool over half of all American homes and power 23 percent of the nation’s electricity. Two local shipping companies are prepared to add LNG to their cargo capabilities over the next two years, and Jacksonville is being touted as the leader in LNG distribution.
According to a 2013 study commissioned by The American Petroleum Institute, LNG exports are expected to generate up to 665,000 new jobs nationally by 2035. The report states that a new LNG plant will ICF estimates that a typical LNG export terminal costs roughly $4.8 billion and generates, on average, approximately 200 (direct) jobs for plant operation and another 350 annual (indirect) jobs for maintenance and supplies. That’s good news for local workers with construction, skilled trades or engineering experience.
Jobs in LNG production and export include engineering specialties, safety, and fuel plant operators and maintenance professionals. Generally, fuel production jobs pay well, with salaries averaging over $60,000 per year. Military veterans are attractive candidates for the industry, especially those with fueling experience. Clean Energy Corporation’s site has detailed job descriptions in the postings for maintenance technicians. The jobs require a high school degree and two to five years of automotive or mechanical repair experience.
Here are the skills and qualifications that appeared in most of the job listings for the natural gas industry: strong commitment to safety and environmental procedures and regulations, an eye for detail, the ability to work long and flexible shifts (up to 12 hours at a time) since the plant is operational 24/7, and demonstrated mechanical aptitude.
If you are looking for a way to convert your mechanical or military experience into a high paying career in clean energy, Jacksonville’s LNG industry may provide a great opportunity in 2015.