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Port Conference Focuses On Energy Interests

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The American Association of Port Authorities is sponsoring a program for port and maritime industry professionals, which will focus exclusively on energy projects. And this first-ever meeting is at Pensacola Beach.

Hosted by Port of Pensacola Director Amy Miller, the conference on Tuesday and Wednesday will explore the benefits and challenges of investing in various types of energy-related commerce.

Also on the agenda, some case studies on renewable energy projects, and the development of those kinds of terminals at ports. Other topics include the economics of the energy industry and associated environmental issues.

“We have a panel of local folks, myself included, talking about our development of the Offshore Inland/DeepFlex pipe manufacturing facility here at the Port of Pensacola,” said Miller. “Which, of course, is an energy sector-related project as well.”

Mayor Ashton Hayward, other elected officials and a number of business leaders gathered last July at the Port to announce a partnership between existing tenant Offshore Inland and Houston-based DeepFlex, to build the new $12 million facility.

“Pensacola’s proud maritime history stretches back more than 450 years to the moment the Spanish sailed into the bay in 1559,” said the Mayor. “Today, we take the next step into the future of our port.”

Offshore Inland specializes in topside and riding crew repair services. DeepFlex is the world’s lone manufacturer of un-bonded non-metallic pipe. When DeepFlex goes online later this year, it will join two other local energy-related companies – General Electric, which makes wind generator components that are shipped through the port; and Offshore Inland, which caters to the offshore oil and gas service vessels.

Energy sector commerce is quickly becoming one of the Port of Pensacola’s key business lines. And along with the area of general cargo, Miller says it’s part of their search for new opportunities. But given the Port’s downtown location, that search is very selective.

“One of the big industries right now is Liquefied Natural Gas,” said Miller. “LNG terminals are big business at many, many ports. I don’t think that’s anything you would see considered for downtown Pensacola, just because some of the hazards and dangers associated with them.”

The conference kicks off Tuesday morning at the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front. Miller’s hoping to take away some new information, to use in a highly-competitive industry.

Besides meeting at the beach, delegates will also tour the Port of Pensacola’s energy facilities on Wednesday.

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