CHARLOTTE — Piedmont Natural Gas will build and operate a liquefied natural gas facility in Robeson County that will provide 400 jobs over a two-year construction period and generate as much as $1 million a year in tax revenue for the county government.
The announcement was made in a statement by the company, which is a partner in the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a $5 billion project to deliver natural gas to North Carolina.
“We continually make investments in our natural gas infrastructure as part of our commitment to providing safe, reliable and affordable natural gas for our customers,” Frank Yoho, president of natural gas operations for Piedmont, said in the statement. “This facility is the most cost-effective solution to meet peak-day demand.”
There would be 10 to 12 permanent jobs at the facility once it is built, according to the statement.
“This project marks an important economic development opportunity for our county, and we’re looking forward to working with Piedmont Natural Gas in an open, transparent manner throughout this process,” Robeson County Manager Ricky Harris said.
State Sen. Danny Britt Jr, a Republican from Lumberton, also cheered the news.
“I am excited about the news from Duke Energy,” Britt said. “This is something I have been involved with for some time and I am pleased we were able to steer this opportunity to Robeson County. The immediate impact of 400 jobs combined with the long-term impact of the full-time positions as well as the excess tax revenue is great for Robeson County.”
The senator also had an opinion about what the county should do with the extra tax revenue.
“I would like to urge the county commissioners to place every penny of these extra tax monies into supplements to be paid to our veteran teachers who have greater than 15 years of service in Robeson County,” he said. “These are the teachers who have not been provided for enough in the most recent state budgets.”
The facility to be built has no connection to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, said Loree Elswick, a Piedmont Natural Gas spokesperson.
“It is a storage facility,” she said.
The facility’s purpose is to maintain a steady supply of liquefied natural gas for Piedmont’s existing home heating customers, Elswick said. It will contain enough gas to serve 100,000 homes.
“The pipeline and the growing presence of gas companies in our county has been something that has been a very contentious subject,” Britt said. “We must do what we can to not only be a good partner but to ensure our county and our people benefit financially in any and every way from the ongoing presence of Duke Energy in Robeson County. “
According to Piedmont Natural Gas, the 1 billion-cubic-foot storage facility will cover about 50 acres of a 685-acre tract of land Piedmont owns near Maxton. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2019 and last two years, and cost about $250 million.
The company also has liquefied natural gas facilities in Nashville, Tenn., and the North Carolina towns of Bentonville and Huntersville.
“Piedmont has safely operated LNG facilities for more than 40 years,” Yoho said. “As always, our commitment to safety will be unwavering throughout the facility’s construction process and its operation.”
Piedmont Natural Gas distributes natural gas to more than 1 million residential, commercial, industrial customers, and power plants in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Piedmont is a subsidiary of Duke Energy, which is one of the largest energy holding companies in the United States, with about 29,000 employees.