Oban renegotiations eyed for next month

It is likely the renegotiation of the heads of agreement for the Oban deal will start in January, according to Labour Minister Dion Foulkes.

“We have a proposed date for January, but I have not spoken to the principals nor the negotiation team yet, so I do not want to release that information,” Foulkes told reporters outside of Cabinet.

The government signed the agreement with Oban Energies on February 19 with Oban Non-Executive Chairman Peter Krieger, in what was later called a ceremonial signing.

The agreement was for a $5.5 billion oil refinery and storage facility project in East Grand Bahama.

The agreement was signed without an environmental impact assessment (EIA) in place – a major point of contention for environmentalists and others.

In March, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis admitted that his government made a series of missteps regarding its deal with Oban Energies in its haste to boost the economy of Grand Bahama.

The government hopes to increase the economic benefits for Bahamians and environmental protections in the amended heads of agreement.

The current heads of agreement with Oban states that the government does not have an option to kill the deal based on anything the EIA concludes, but must work with Oban to address any concerns raised by the study.

A Cabinet subcommittee and technical advisory group was formed and charged with examining the deal.

Foulkes, who heads the subcommittee, said, “Cabinet has adopted in full the technical report from the Oban subcommittee.

“A negotiation team has been appointed to negotiate, to renegotiate the heads of agreement with the principals of Oban.

“We are currently in the process of notifying the principals and speaking to the negotiation team to get our terms of reference.

“I don’t want to go beyond that until I can get some specific information as to when we’re going to start the renegotiation.”

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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