News: Chamber Director Calls For End To Shell Talks

Written by Youri Kemp, Tribune News, October 27th, 2021

A Chamber of Commerce director yesterday urged the Government to move on from Bahamas Power & Light’s (BPL) talks with Shell and seek alternative options.

Debbie Deal, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation’s (BCCEC) energy and environment director, told Tribune Business: “All of the timeframes have passed a long time ago, and there has to be a reason why it’s taking so long.

“Do they have another scheme like are they waiting until they build Station D, and then at that point in time sell it to Shell? What exactly is the plan?”

Ms Deal was responding to Alfred Sears QC, minister for works and utilities with responsibility for BPL, who confirmed ahead of yesterday’s Cabinet meeting that he plans to meet with Shell North America “shortly” having already spoken to the multinational energy giant’s representatives.

Mr Sears added that he has received phone calls from firms interested in offering generation solutions as independent power producers (IPPs), especially in the renewable energy sector, as the Government seeks to ensure that 30 percent of The Bahamas’ energy mix comes from renewable sources by 2030.

I’ve started to meet with some of those persons and I will continue to inform myself so that we can move as expeditiously as possible in the area of renewable power generation,” Mr Sears said.

Is unclear whether Shell North America will still be responsible for taking over the new 220 Mega Watts (MW) of generation capacity, and supplying BPL via a power purchase agreement (PPA), or if its interest will be restricted to supplying liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the plant’s primary fuel from a $270m facility proposed to be constructed at Clifton Pier.

The newly-elected Davis administration must now decide whether to pursue negotiations with Shell North America to a conclusion after the latter was unable to seal the deal with its predecessor. It is thought that completion of an agreement is linked to BPL successfully concluding its mammoth $535m rate reduction bond refinancing, which is also under review by the Government.

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