Above: Jamaica Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Jamaica is planning to introduce Liquefied Natural Gas in Jamaica by 2015, despite a recent decision by the government to remove itself from the process of fuel selection.
In the short term, Jamaica will be instead focusing on creating the legislative and regulatory framework for LNG.
“I am happy to reiterate that LNG will, indeed, be introduced into Jamaica by 2015 and that plans are underway for this,” said Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell, looking to put to rest rumours that the government was abandoning the much-touted LNG project.
Jamaica will disbanding the LNG Steering Committee with immediate effect, however, replacing it with a body including members of organizations including the Jamaica Energy Council, the Office of Utilities Regulation and the Ministry of Energy.
The Steering Committee had been put in place under the previous Jamaica Labour Party administration.
Paulwell said that, following meetings in South Korea, Japan and Jamaica, he had “firm assurance from the Jamaica Public Service that they will be able to undertake this LNG project within the timeline established, and will achieve a 30 percent reduction in the price of electricity to the consumer.”
The supply of LNG may not begin by 2015, he said, but JPS will be buying LNG on spot prices during that interim period.
“I commit that as JPS provides details on its infrastructure and LNG supply arrangements, I will update the House,” he said.
In February of this year, Paulwell had said Jamaica would make every effort to complete the country’s LNG project by 2014.
The plan had called for LNG to be supplied to the government, which would then build a floating storage and re-gasification terminal.
The LNG project had caused some controversy in 2010, following concerns over the award of the LNG contract to the Exmar Consortium.
At the time, Jamaica’s Contractor General had suggested a “conspiratorial relationship” in the award between two Jamaican officials and Exmar, though no criminal charges were ever filed.