Pin Oak celebrates tank farm with ribbon cutting, celebration

Published 12:14 am Wednesday, August 16, 2017

MT. AIRY — It started as a dream, drawn up on a restaurant napkin by a man with a vision.

That vision became a reality Monday as petroleum industry executives and a slew of state and St. John the Baptist Parish officials gathered for a celebratory ribbon cutting for Pin Oak Terminals’ multi-product liquid marine terminal.

The $100 million tank farm covering 431 acres at mile marker 144.1 on the Mississippi River is permitted to construct the capacity to store up to 10 million barrels of crude oil, refined petroleum products, chemicals and other liquids.

It is expected to be a boon to the River Parishes as the terminal attempts to lure more customers and more opportunities to the area, officials said.

According to Louisiana Economic Development, the project entails a $600 million capital investment in storage terminals, docks and related infrastructure along the east bank of the Mississippi River at Mount Airy, near the St. John-St. James parish line.

“It means another industry on the river and that means jobs,” said Paul Aucoin, executive director of the Port of South Louisiana. “Our mission at the Port of South Louisiana is to create jobs and bring more industry to our Port. They did it in a way that’s probably never been done before, with so much community spirit. If you could package it, put it in a box and make a blueprint of how to go about it, this would be it.”

That entrepreneurial spirit belonged to Danny Guidry, now the chief administrative officer of Pin Oak Terminals.

It was Guidry who had the idea and drew up the plan on a napkin during a lunch meeting at Nobile’s Restaurant in Gramercy 15 years ago.

“I wrote it all out on a napkin and gave it to then-Parish President Nickie Monica, saying this is what I want to do,” Guidry said. “The vision was, working with the local industries to put this together.”

After giving the design to Monica and then-executive director of the Port of South Louisiana Joel T. Chaisson Sr., Guidry served as a liaison between the company and Parish officials to get the project greenlit and built.

“He was the go-between for the whole thing,” Aucoin said. “He made this happen.”

Guidry received much of the credit Monday, as well as a pair of appreciation plaques, one from St. John Parish President Natalie Robottom and another from St. John Sheriff Mike Tregre.

Robottom was the Parish’s chief administrative officer when the project was first proposed.

“They’ve been working on this a long time,” Robottom said. “Mr. Guidry was persistent. He stayed with it through different partners and, you know, it’s really amazing to see it go from an idea, to a ground breaking, to a ribbon cutting. That’s what we’re seeing here. There’s a commitment to the Parish.”

More than 449 contractors spent 14 months on project construction, employing approximately 500 people.

Company officials said more than 75 percent are River Parishes residents.

While soaking in the adulation, Guidry said he was just a guy with some experience who saw a need for storage.

“It’s a tribute to all the elected officials in St. John Parish that a young businessman can come to them with a paper napkin and they make it happen,” Guidry said. “It’s a great day. It’s almost like you’re so numb you can’t feel it.”

Chaisson, who attended Monday’s ribbon cutting and a brief pre-event party, said he listened to Guidry’s pitch as the Port’s executive director.

He also still has the napkin.

“We do — somewhere,” he said. “We kept it.”

According to Louisiana Economic Development, the project entails a $600 million capital investment in storage terminals, docks and related infrastructure along the east bank of the Mississippi River at Mount Airy, near the St. John-St. James parish line.

As the terminal project develops, it will create more than 70 new on-site jobs encompassing full-time company and contractor jobs, with 30 of those positions already filled. Those new jobs will have an average annual salary of more than $60,000, plus benefits.

CEO C. Michael Reed said customers have signed agreements for up to almost 4 million barrels.

“Without the support of our customers, our dedicated employees and contractors, the local community, the Port of South Louisiana, St. John Parish officials and Louisiana state government, this would still be a dream,” Reed said.

Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in an additional 81 new indirect jobs. At peak construction, the project generated more than 440 additional construction jobs.

Pin Oak’s services include offloading, storage, heating, blending and transfer of petroleum liquids. Company permits allow construction of up to 10 million barrels of storage and unit-train loops on its 431-acre site, which is situated for shipping of products by rail, pipeline, barge, ship and truck.

The terminal is beginning operations with one dock, a two-bay truck rack and four tanks with a capacity of 424,000 barrels of refined products and biofuels.

Pin Oak Terminals LLC, a subsidiary of Pin Oak Holdings LLC, serves North America’s crude, refined product and chemical industries. For more information, visit