In San Patricio County, construction of the TPCO America pipe making plant in Gregory is now in its second phase. Delays have slowed the $1.1 billion project. Builders say there has been a shortage of qualified personnel. Also, language barriers appear to be present given the owners are from China.
"Some of the more technical positions that require two languages, English and Chinese Mandarin dialect, particularly in engineering have been challenges to find here," said J.J. Johnston, with TPCO America.
Johnston says Yates construction has been hired to complete phase two. The plant is expected to be fully operational half way through 2016. It is expected to produce roughly 500,000 metric tons of seamless steel pipe for the oil and gas industry. Upwards of 800 full time employees are expected to be hired.