Board directed to move ahead with Shell deal
As Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) officially received a new board yesterday, renewable energy and the Shell deal remain top priorities for the country’s power provider, according to Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister.
During the board briefing yesterday, Bannister said the government has determined that BPL will enter into an agreement with Shell North America for a new generation and liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant at BPL’s Clifton Pier plant, and the board cannot change that.
“That is a Cabinet decision,” Bannister advised the new board.
“Your job now is to seek as quickly as possible to enter a memorandum of understanding with Shell.
“That was the Cabinet decision. It is important for the board to get your legal minds, and you have a wonderful legal mind on the board, who can give you guidance with respect to the legal opinions you get.”
In an interview with The Tribune, BPL Chairman Dr. Donovan Moxey said a review of BPL’s contract tender process was high on the agenda for the new board, including the tender process that led to the selection of Shell North America as the preferred bidder.
“We understand there were several projects on the table,” he said in the August 20th publication.
“The first thing is to find out details on the projects, one mainly being the Shell contract.
“Understanding the decisions prior to us getting there, and determining whether those decisions were prudent or not.
“Once we determine as a board that it was the right choice, we will move forward from there.”
Bannister shed light on the government’s progress yesterday, explaining it is “almost a month behind with respect to that MOU and it is important for you to proceed with that”.
Last month, Bannister said the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between BPL and Shell for a new plant at Clifton was imminent.
The MOU for the 270 megawatt (MW) power plant was supposed to be signed on August 3, according to the minister.
BPL CEO Whitney Heastie has praised Shell North America as a potential partner and stressed the transformational impact it has even beyond the energy sector.
Tensions continue to brew between the minister and former members of the board, including the former chairperson, Darnell Osborne, who has publicly defended her tenure at the power company.
Yesterday, the minister advised the new board that renewable energy, and the rate reduction bond (RRB) to refinance BPL’s legacy debt and liabilities remain top priorities.