With a huge oil refinery and large gas processing plant, a liquefied natural gas terminal, electric power producers and multiple pipeline and natural gas companies, South Mississippi is a powerhouse in a field where worldwide demand continues to grow.

Located along the energy-rich oil and gas fields of the Gulf of Mexico, the coastal counties of South Mississippi have a foreign trade zone, competitive incentives and crucial workforce training programs. Further, they’re in a state ranked as the most attractive for oil and gas investments and listed as among the top five for biomass energy potential. And growth appears to be in the cards.

The Industry

Energy is a $6 trillion-per-year business worldwide and the third largest industry in the United States. It includes the petroleum and gas industries, electric power industry, the coal industry, nuclear power industry and renewable energy industry. And demand is growing across the board.

The United States is a leader in the production and supply of energy and one of the largest consumers. That consumer demand, along with innovation, a competitive workforce and supply chain, make the U.S. the world’s most attractive energy market. And a key player is Mississippi.

The state has a substantial energy business, with companies investing billions to expand traditional energy businesses or create new, non-tradition energy businesses. The state’s energy assets include 12 major natural gas pipelines, a major refinery and several smaller refineries, oil and natural gas production, petroleum and petroleum products pipelines, electricity generation and lignite resources. And the renewable and clean energy sectors are growing.

The state is ranked as one of the world’s most attractive locations for oil and gas investments by Canada’s Fraser Institute. Motley Fool in September 2012 said new oil and gas deposits discovered in recent years “point to a high energy future for Mississippi.”

It’s also one of the top five states in biomass energy potential, and has attracted an array of renewable energy companies. Mississippi also saw considerable growth in the clean energy sector in recent years, with companies investing over $3.7 billion to establish operations.

What may make Mississippi particularly attractive for investment dollars is it uses more energy than it produces. But the potential to produce more is there. New deposits have been found onshore and offshore along the Gulf Coast, and geologists believe that further exploration could reveal important new oil and gas reserves.

South Mississippi

South Mississippi is best known for its huge gasoline refinery, but it also has companies involved in natural gas processing, electric power production and distribution and more. It’s also home of a liquefied natural gas terminal and the future home of a $2 billion fuels plant that’s rethinking its product mix.

South Mississippi has been a hot spot for energy investments. In recent years it’s included some $5 million in upgrades for the Chevron Pascagoula Refinery, including a $1.4 billion lubricants plant, and $1.1 billion for an LNG terminal.

Chevron’s Pascagoula Refinery is the largest refinery of the corporation, and one of the top 10 in the United States, processing 330,000 barrels of crude oil per day. It’s located east of Pascagoula in Bayou Casotte Industrial Park and includes more than 3,000 acres.

Three companies in South Mississippi provide electric power. Mississippi Power is an electric utility company headquartered in Gulfport. Two of its four generating plants are in Harrison and Jackson counties, and it provides electricity to residential and business customers in 23 counties.

South Mississippi has two non-profit cooperatives created in the 1930s to build power lines to bring electricity to rural areas. Coast Electric Power Association is headquartered in Kiln, and Singing River Electric Power Association is headquarters in Lucedale. Both buy electricity from South Mississippi Electric Power Association in Hattiesburg, a generation and transmission cooperative.

The Mississippi Coast also has a natural gas terminal, Gulf LNG Terminal, in Pascagoula. It has two 160,000 cubic meter storage tanks with 6.6 billion cubic feet of storage capacity. Designed to receive imported natural gas, it’s also been approved to export natural gas.

South Mississippi also has a natural gas processing plant, the BP Pascagoula Gas Processing plant in Moss Point. It’s one of the largest natural gas processing plants in the United States and can process 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day.

Closely related to the gas plant is the Destin Pipeline, a 255-mile natural gas pipeline system that runs from the central Gulf of Mexico to Mississippi and extending north, where it connects with nine major interstate gas pipelines. It can carry 1.2 billion cu ft per day.

Other natural gas pipelines also pass through South Mississippi, including Gulf South Pipeline and Tennessee Gas Pipeline. There are, in fact, 12 private distribution natural gas companies, six private direct sales natural gas companies and 48 municipal natural gas systems serving Mississippi. Thirteen interstate pipeline companies and four major gas storage facilities supply Mississippi distributors through 11,000 miles of interstate and intrastate natural gas and crude oil transmission pipelines.