The government and executives from Oban Energies will continue with negotiations today on an amended heads of agreement for a $5.5 billion oil refinery and storage facility in East Grand Bahama, Oban President Alexander Grikitis said yesterday.
Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes, and Loren Klein, who is the government’s lead negotiator in the matter, met with Grikitis and other Oban executives at the Ministry of Labour at Charlotte House for five and a half hours yesterday.
As he left Charlotte House, Grikitis told reporters, “Everything went very good with the meeting today.”
When asked about Oban’s next step, Grikitis said, “[We are] just going over some meetings and we’re in negotiations on some things they’ve requested to change but I can’t really make too many statements at this point, but tomorrow we’ll be more open to talks.”
The government signed a heads of agreement with Oban Energies on February 10, 2018, however, the public was not notified at the time.
The Minnis administration held a signing on February 19 with then Oban Energies Non-Executive Chairman Peter Krieger; it was later called a ceremonial signing.
The government signed the agreement without an environmental impact assessment in place – a major point of contention for environmentalists and others.
Following weeks of backlash, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis admitted last March that the government made a series of missteps with the deal. He said the government would seek to review the heads of agreement.
Earlier this month, Foulkes told The Nassau Guardian that negotiations with Oban will determine whether the deal moves forward.
However, Grikitis said yesterday that he still is “100 percent” confident in the deal.
While declining to comment on whether significant changes are being made to the heads of agreement, the Oban president said there will be “confidentiality until we get to the end result”.
In January, Foulkes said that the government was looking to “make quite extensive changes” to the agreement.
When asked which aspects of the heads of agreement the government wished to renegotiate, Foulkes said, “We’re looking primarily at three major categories: The economic provisions, the environmental provisions and the legal provisions. I do not want to get into the details until we have opportunities to present our terms to Oban so that they can have an opportunity to respond.”
Although Foulkes had said the government was expected to submit its proposed amendments to Oban on February 7, he said last month that a “glitch with our computer” prevented the submission of the amendments.
On Sunday, the minister confirmed that the amendments had been submitted.
Both Klein and Foulkes declined to comment yesterday.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice