Two companies building deepwater liquified natural gas terminals off the coasts of Cape Ann and the North Shore were full of promises at a meeting of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce this week.
The numbers were dizzying. And if there were skeptics in the audience, they were silent.
Excelerate Energy, which has already begun construction 12 miles off the coast, said it would be spending about $10 million a year to run its port, with about $1.5 million of that going to payroll. The company said it will hire local people when possible.
Another chunk of that money, its officials said, will pour into the local economy through the purchase of supplies, fuel, lease fees for office space and expenses for crew members, who will stay in local hotels and eat in local restaurants while the LNG tankers are docked.
Besides all that, the company has agreed to spend $23.7 million to mitigate any harm to the local fishing industry, and to donate another $4 million to charities.
Suez Energy North America, which plans to start soon on its port, about 7 miles southeast of Gloucester, says it will spend $23.5 million to support the fishing industry and other local causes, and that the majority of each ship's annual $15 million budget will be spent locally.
The companies are here to make money for themselves, of course - millions upon millions of it. And none of what they have promised has happened yet. But, it is good to see their leaders put themselves on the record about their local commitment. These ports will be a great benefit to them, so they should share the wealth.
Beyond that this region needs the energy supply that the two new ports will bring. While there may be some impact on fishing, it is likely to be less than the ever-more-restrictive government regulations now in place.
And if the predicted economic benefits do come true, it will be a win for the companies and a win for the region.