Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) CEO Whitney Heastie yesterday insisted that the $95 million agreement with Finnish technology group Wartsila to install a new 132-megawatt engine power plant at its Clifton site will not conflict with the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed with Shell Gas and Power Development B.V. in November for a gas-to-power project.
In fact, Heastie said Shell was involved in the selection of Wartsila.
The MOU established Shell as the project developer for the power project, which will include the development of marine infrastructure to receive liquefied natural gas, a gas pipeline to bring gas to shore, an onshore LNG regassification terminal and a new gas-fire 220-plus megawatt power plant.
Shell, which would become an independent power producer (IPP), was said to be covering the cost of constructing the plant, which was reportedly expected to be upwards of $100 million. BPL will in turn pay Shell to supply electricity.
Heastie explained, “Shell was integrally involved in the selection process. They actually went out and did the tendering for us and they were the ones who recommended Wartsila as the entity that should come forth and resolve this emergency power situation for us. So, they’ve been along with us the entire way of the process.”
He continued: “The 132 megawatts is a complement of the 220 megawatts that’s committed by Shell. So there’s still another 90 megawatts that has to be built. And so the 90 megawatts will be added at Clifton Pier to complete the 220 megawatts that Shell has committed to build, as a part of the memorandum of understanding.”
Heastie did not clarify why BPL is paying Wartsila, when Shell was supposed to cover the cost of the 220 megawatts.
Asked for further clarification on the agreement with Shell and its status given the new project, Heastie said, “It’s actually fortified.
“I would have said last year September, when the incident happened at Clifton Pier, we need to rely on our partner and the leveraging that Shell has in the marketplace.
“Shell has stepped up to the plate, they went out on our behalf, they took the lead in the tendering process and they actually went out and made, through the selection process, a recommendation to BPL, that Wartsila should be the company to come in and put in this power.
“That relation has only been fostered or gotten stronger as a result of that. So, the Shell relationship has paid off in those regards to date.
“We continue to work with Shell. Obviously we signed a Memorandum of Understanding on November 2 of last year and we are in the stages now of negotiating the definitive agreement, which is ongoing.”
Asked whether there would be two plants by the time Shell comes on stream, Heastie said, “It’s considered one plant. They are obligated to 220 megawatts. This is the first 132 of that 220, that will all be under the management and operation of Shell.”
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications
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