Port Fourchon was developed as a multi-use facility. It has historically been a land base for offshore oil support services as well as a land base for the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP). In addition, Port Fourchon has served as a commercial and recreational fishing mecca, foreign cargo shipping terminal, and a unique area for recreation and tourism.
The overwhelming majority (over 95%) of tonnage handled at the Port is oil and gas related. Every widget and gadget needed to support the oil and gas industry is handled as cargo. It moves through container, bulk, breakbulk, and just about every method imaginable. Approximately 30% of total tonnage travels to and from the port by inland barge before being transferred to or from an offshore supply vessel, and 70% travels to and from the port by vehicle before being transferred to or from an offshore supply vessel or helicopter.
The commodities commonly barged are liquid bulk commodities such as oilfield fluids, heavy waters (CaCl2), cement, and fuel. Most other commodities are moved to and from the port via vehicle. The most common vehicular transported cargoes include machinery, pipe, personnel, dry bulk, food, garbage, and specialty tools. Additionally, Port Fourchon’s proximity to the Gulf provides a strategic logistical advantage for servicing, repairing, and refurbishing drilling rigs.
Truck traffic studies have shown that up to 1200 trucks per day travel in and out of Port Fourchon. Inland barge traffic through Bayou Lafourche, the main barge route to the port, has experienced paralleled increase with truck traffic.
Studies like the 1994 USACE Port Fourchon Feasibility Study Environmental Impact Statement include economic analyses that project that the majority of all drilling rig activity off the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama coasts will be in the Port Fourchon service area for the foreseeable future. Port Fourchon alone currently services 90% of deepwater structures in the Gulf of Mexico. MMS projections show 50% of pending deepwater structures will have Port Fourchon as their service base. These figures clearly show that Port Fourchon is the major service base for deepwater Gulf production.