Beaumont -- On Monday, the American and Chinese flags shared the same stage, on Southeast Texas soil for a groundbreaking along the Neches River.
The Chief Executive Officer of American Ethane John Houghtaling announced that the company Martin Midstream Partners in Beaumont would be the site for terminals that will be used to export ethane to China.
Three Chinese companies have signed binding agreements to buy and sell $72 billion of ethane. It's the largest ethane agreement in history.
Houghtaling says the multi-billion dollar ethane export project will produce 5,000 construction and production jobs throughout the United States, and more than 1,000 jobs locally.
There's still a holdup on the project. China must issue permits to the participating Chinese companies. But Houghtaling is confident the permits will be granted. especially since both President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping support the project.
It was part of recent high level trade talks between Trump and Jinping.
Supporters say the ethane export project will reduce the trade deficit between the two countries by billions of dollars.
SS&B Engineers and Constructors will build the terminals, and will do the initial hiring. CEO James Brookshire promises jobs for Southeast Texans. "Everything will be dependent on the local workforce, we don't want to have to bring in what we would call travelers in, we would much rather recruit locally", said Brookshire.
Available jobs include pipefitters, electricians, cement finishers, iron workers, riggers, equipment operators and other industrial craftworkers. Once there's a start date, job seekers can apply at the SS&B hiring office at 1031 Nederland Avenue.