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News roundup: LABI, LMOGA push for expanding oil and gas leasing … Nonprofit taking over Shreveport science center … Debt refinancing estimated to save Louisiana $54M

August 18, 2017
By Daily Report Staff
Originally Posted on Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

Casting a wider net: As the Trump administration seeks to expand oil and gas extraction, two Louisiana business and industry groups say the fed’s five-year offshore oil and gas leasing program for the 2019-2024 should include the Mid and South Atlantic and other parts of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific. The areas have either had little or no leasing activity. However, Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association say opening more areas for leasing means new jobs and investment for the state. The groups offered the recommendation in comments made to the U.S. Bureau of Oil Energy Management.

Blindsided: Employees of Sci-Port Discovery Center, a tourism attraction in Shreveport, say they were blindsided by news that they’ll lose their jobs as new management takes over the financially troubled complex. The Shreveport Times reports Planet Aqua Group, the nonprofit developer of an aquarium under construction in Shreveport, is taking over Sci-Port, which will close temporarily beginning on Sept. 4 as the transition is made. All 72 employees will lose their jobs. The education science complex announced the management change during a press conference Wednesday. Sci-Port’s president and CEO left in July. Read more from The Shreveport Times.

Refinanced: Louisiana has refinanced $377 million in debt, saving the state millions in annual payments by getting a lower interest rate. As The Associated Press reports, State Treasurer Ron Henson’s office has announced that the refinancing will free up more than $54 million for infrastructure projects. Annual savings in debt repayment will range from $1.5 million to $2.7 million through 2045, while the principal debt also will drop. The state sells bonds to investors for upfront cash for projects. The bonds that were refinanced this week, originally issued in 2010 and 2012, are called Gasoline and Fuels Tax Revenue Bonds. They’re used to pay for highway and bridge projects, and the savings must be used to pay for similar projects. Henson’s office says the refinancing deal will close on Aug. 30.