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Touting Jamaica, New Fortress enters Mexico

Published:Thursday | August 23, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Verona Carter, vice-president of public affairs, New Fortress Energy.

Touting Jamaica, New Fortress enters Mexico

American company New Fortress Energy will enter Mexico as its second major overseas market alongside Jamaica.

The success of its build out of liquefied natural gas, LNG, infrastructure in Jamaica acted as an important gauge for foray into Mexico, said Verona Carter, the energy company's vice-president for public affairs.

"So, Jamaica is the proof of concept and we have taken it to other countries. We have set the template, or the tone, for what is possible for energy reform in the region," Carter said in an interview on Wednesday.

New Fortress announced last week that it will develop and operate an LNG import terminal in Mexico, which reportedly will cost US$71 million (1.34 billion Mexican pesos). That terminal is scheduled to be operational by 2020.

Mexico would become its second overseas market for the development of heavy infra-structure, but the company is engaged in other regional markets as gas supplier, including Barbados and Bahamas.

New Fortress - part of the Fortress Investment Group founded by US businessman Wes Eden but now owned by SoftBank of Japan - continues to be linked with local LNG projects for corporate entities, including Jamaica Public Service Company, Jamalco, CB Group, Seprod Group and Red Stripe Jamaica. New Fortress offers gas supply, infrastructure, bunkering and project capital services.

"This is where he started, this is where he has invested, and this is his base," Carter said of Eden's focus on Jamaica.

The total investment by New Fortress in Jamaica remains undisclosed. However, the total economic value of the these investments, including the contributions from private-sector players, is on track to reach US$1 billion by 2019.

New Fortress already built a gas operation in Montego Bay and supplies LNG to the Bogue power plant in Montego Bay, owned by JPS. The company aims to commission another terminal under development off the coast of Old Harbour by early 2019. The terminal will pump LNG to the Old Harbour power-generating plant being developed by electricity utility JPS, and would also supply LNG to bauxite/alumina operations at Jamalco.

"We are setting the template for international development for energy. We are the centre of gravity for Wes Eden's vision. Jamaica was the first and we just made the Mexico announcement," added Carter.

Under the Mexican deal, New Fortress was awarded a long-term contract for the development, construction and operation of a terminal for the importation of LNG in the Port of Pichilingue, Baja California Sur. The contract was awarded on July 19 by APIBCS, the Administracion Portuaria Integral de Baja California Sur.