By Jeffrey S. Rood, Real Estate Attorney
JACKSONVILLE, FL – June 27, 2017 – Add one more reason to why Jacksonville is so attractive to business investment and real estate development – the remarkable growth of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) industry.
Jacksonville owes much of its success to the combination of a pro-business climate and its advantageous geography for trade by ship, rail, and highway. It is located at the pivotal crossroads of Interstate 10 and Interstate 95, plus its port, known as JAXPORT, is the third largest port by tonnage in Florida and the most important American port for trade with Puerto Rico. Combining these advantages bodes well for the LNG industry in Jacksonville, evidenced by JAXPORT becoming the largest port supplier of LNG to container ships in the world. Like no place else, Jacksonville will be able to receive natural gas, process it in plants a few miles away into LNG, seamlessly connect the LNG from the port to the ships, and fuel the ships with the same LNG that they can export around the world.
As reported by the Florida Times-Union, the First Coast (St. Augustine is America’s oldest city) has for years been brimming with LNG-powered ship and shipping equipment purchases, federal and state permit applications, port improvements, development of LNG processing plants, conversions of municipal vehicles to be run on LNG, and exploration of conversion of CSX Transportation’s locomotives to be fueled by LNG. Florida East Coast Railway is already fueling certain locomotives with LNG.
With all of this new development comes new legal challenges. Below is a high-level view of the legal issues and opportunities that come with the LNG revolution. Some issues are typical of most developing industrial industries, while others are unique to LNG. GrayRobinson, P.A. has the legal experience and political acumen to assist investors, producers, contractors, transporters, importers, exporters, and end users of LNG, big and small, foreign and domestic.
- Entity formation for foreign and domestic companies and investors.
- Operating and partnership agreements
- Capital raising efforts, including lender-financing and registered and un-registered securities offerings
- International and domestic arbitration under the rules of the ICC and the AAA.
- Admiralty and maritime litigation in state and federal court.
- Resolving conflicts among suppliers, contractors, employees, and investors.
Regulation and permitting
- Market-leading lobbying practice in state capital, including the Legislature and agencies.
- Federal, state, and local guidance and advocacy under energy and environmental regulation and permitting.
- Community relations and engagement for high-profile projects requiring stakeholder support.
Real Estate and infrastructure
- Transaction-specific and general strategic representation for purchases, sales, ground leases, easements, entitlements, restrictive covenants, etc. for all real estate requirements.
- Decades-long working relationships with local property owners, transportation agencies, contractors, and commercial real estate brokers
- Federal, state, and local land use guidance and advocacy
Customs and international trade law
- Decades-long working relationships with ports, importers, exporters, and logistics companies
- Experience in the wide range of issues related to importing and exporting goods in and out of American ports, including export controls and embargoes
- Compliance programs, audits, and training