Wed | Sep 20, 2017

JPS, New Fortress pursuing separate parts of LNG project

Published:Sunday | January 24, 2016 | 1:00 AMSteven Jackson
The oil-fired JPS power plant in Old Harbour Bay, St Catherine is to be replaced with a gas-fired plant.

The announcement of an agreement between Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) and a Chinese firm is expected this week for the construction of the new energy plant at Old Harbour.

JPS and American company New Fortress Energy are executing separate projects at Old Harbour - the Jamaican utility company is building a new 190 MW plant, while Fortress is financing and developing the gas infrastructure to supply the plant with LNG.

Together, the projects are estimated at around US$500 million.

JPS said it will have no ownership in the gas infrastructure project nor contribute to the cost of developing it, but will solely be a client of New Fortress, which will build its pipeline to connect to the JPS plant. The same arrangement applies to the gas infrastructure under development by New Fortress in Montego Bay, which will feed gas to JPS' Bogue plant.

The utility company said previously that the 190 MW combined cycle plant at Old Harbour is expect to cost close to US$300 million.

The name of the Chinese contractor will be disclosed only after the deal to develop the plant is finalised, JPS said. The utilitycompany had previously chosen Abengoa to develop the plant only to be embarrassed when the Spanish firm filed for bankruptcy protection in its home country just days later.

JPS is also in final negotiations with General Electric (GE) as the primary equipment supplier for the Old Harbour plant.

"JPS is currently finalising the agreements with both GE and the 'EPC' contractor and coordinating the start of this new generation facility with the completion of an associated LNG facility that will be built to provide gas. These two projects will total over US$500 million and begin operation in early 2018 with full commercial operation by the middle of 2018," said JPS via email.

EPC is a categorisation, which stands for 'engineering, procurement and construction' contractor.

The plant's advance GE turbines will utilise cleaner burning natural gas, replacing the heavy fuel oil currently used at Old Harbour, and will be able to integrate increased solar, wind and hydro resources as Jamaica moves towards producing more electricity from renewable resources.

"GE will provide four turbines - three gas turbines and one steam turbine the three heat recovery steam generators, the four electrical generators and the major controls," said JPS.

Once the new Old Harbour plant is built, the current structure will be dismantled, and the property will resort to brownfield status, according to JPS spokeswoman Winsome Callum.

New Fortress is negotiating separately with the Electricity Sector Enterprise Team regarding its gas project, Callum said.

JPS has spent some US$4 million so far in preparing for the upgrade over the past 24 months.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com