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BPL to introduce LNG to its fuel mixture by 2021

Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) is expected to introduce liquefied natural gas (LNG) to its fuel mixture by 2021, BPL Executive Chairman Patrick Rollins said yesterday while answering questions at the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation’s (BCCEC) Power Breakfast. He added that the corporation will use heavy fuel oil (HFO) to power its seven new Wartsila engines when they arrive, in order to keep fuel costs down until LNG, a cleaner burning fuel, can be implemented.

During the question and answer session of the Power Breakfast, Rollins was peppered with questions about the use of LNG, being specifically asked why the power company was taking so long to introduce the clean-burning fuel to power its engines instead of the dirty HFO option.

BCCEC Chairman Mike Maura asked Rollins why it will take so long to introduce the cleaner fuel.

Rollins said because of the fire last September that destroyed an engine, BPL had to move faster on procuring replacement generation, which would not have given Shell North America, which won the tender to provide LNG, enough time to introduce the cleaner fuel.

“The fire caused us to go a little faster,” Rollins said.

The new generators, which should be running by the end of summer, will be able to burn HFO, diesel and LNG, Rollins said. He added that because people were “crying” about fuel charges on their bills, BPL decided to burn the much cheaper HFO until LNG can be introduced.

While BPL will burn the HFO until Shell introduces LNG, Rollins could not say what the reduction in the fuel surcharge on customers’ bills will look like, since he could not predict what fuel prices will look like within the next six months.

However, he contended the new engines will be much more fuel efficient and therefore burn less fuel, causing BPL to consume much less.

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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