LNG firm seeks tax break for port facility

BROWNSVILLE — Cameron County commissioners will consider approving a tax abatement agreement with Annova LNG for a port facility.

Commissioners will take up the matter at their regular meeting at 9 a.m. on Aug. 20 at the Cameron County Courthouse/Dancy Building, 1100 E. Monroe St.

Annova is one of three liquefied natural gas companies that have proposed building multi-billion-dollar liquefaction and export facilities at the Port of Brownsville and are awaiting final approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The Houston-based company has proposed building up to six liquefaction trains, or complete units for liquefying natural gas, on more than 730 acres at the port. Fully built out, the plant would be capable of producing 6 million tons of LNG per year for export. The natural gas would be transported to the facility via pipeline.

In April 2015, the county agreed to enter into contract negotiations with Annova to discuss the company’s request for a 100-percent property tax abatement as an economic development incentive. In September of that year, the commissioners court voted to table consideration of a 10-year tax abatement.

Also in 2015, the Point Isabel Independent School District rejected Annova’s request for a tax abatement that would have limited the valuation on the company’s proposed plant to $25 million over 10 years.

In 2017, the county approved a $373 million tax abatement for Rio Grande LNG, another of the three proposed LNG projects. Environmental groups opposed to construction of LNG facilities at the port due to the environmental and economic damage they contend the plants will cause are urging the county to vote against granting Annova’s current request.