PORT FOURCHON, La. — The Greater Lafourche Port Commission says agreements have been reach that will advance a plan to develop the Gulf’s first purpose-built, deepwater rig repair and refurbishment facility to service the oil and gas industry.

Chett Chiasson, Port Commission executive director, said in a news release the agreement is with the Edward Wisner Donation, granting the commission a right of first refusal on more than 900 acres of property immediately south of the port.

Under a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after nearly two years of discussion and negotiation, the commission says a corps study will be conducted to determine the feasibility of a deeper draft channel into Port Fourchon.

The Edward Wisner Donation Advisory Committee, which manages the Wisner Trust land, voted to approve giving the Port Commission the ability to begin promoting the development, Fourchon Island, and working toward developing a lease on the 900-plus acres of property.

The study will evaluate deepening the main channel of Bayou Lafourche through Belle Pass, from its intersection with Pass Fourchon out into the Gulf of Mexico, to a depth of between 35 and 50 feet and to a distance of about six miles, the commission said.

Chiasson has said the cost is estimated at a half-billion-dollars.

“Currently, we service over 90% of all of the deepwater activity in the Gulf, and we know that many of these rigs that we service were built right here in this region,” Perry Gisclair, GLPC Board President said. “They are serviced by companies based in Port Fourchon, and now we hope to add a cutting-edge deepwater rig repair and refurbishment facility at the most central and accessible location in the entire Gulf of Mexico.”