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JPS still negotiating Bogue LNG deal

Published:Friday | February 7, 2014 | 12:00 AM
In this July 2013 photo, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton (right) looks on as Jamaica Public Service Company President Kelly Tomblin (centre) and Chief Executive Officer of Virtual Solutions Incorporated, Frank Rose, sign a development agreement, which seeks to introduce compressed natural gas at the Bogue power station in St James. - File

Six months after a preliminary deal was signed to bring natural gas to the Bogue power plant in Montego Bay, St James, discussions between the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) and a consortium led by Canadian firm Fueling Tech Incorporated (FTI) International Group are still ongoing.

Head of Corporate Commu-nication at the JPS, Winsome Callum told the Financial Gleaner that "we are still in discussions regarding details of this partnership and are not able to provide answers to your questions ... at this time."

She added that "as soon as details are finalised, we will be very happy to update you".

Toronto-based FTI International Group said it hoped that it will close the deal so that it can move ahead with the development.

"We are still in discussions with JPS," Anthony Gardner, vice-president of business development at FTI, said in an interview with the Financial Gleaner. "We remain very optimistic and are looking forward to concluding our negotiations with JPS and moving forward with the project," he added.

Other members of the consortium are Virtual Solutions Inc of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Red Rock Power Partners Llc out of the United States.

Project-cost study

Under the preliminary agreement signed in July 2013, the consortium obtained permission to commence a front-end engineering and design study which should provide more accurate costing for the project.

That study would include the final design of the compressed natural gas infrastructure delivery along with the price of gas delivered to JPS' turbines.

The JPS said then that six months from the preliminary signing a formal contract may be signed by the parties to facilitate the implementation of the project.

However, JPS had the option to walk away from the contract if the price of the gas delivered is in excess of 10 per cent more than the originally proposed price.

A 120-megawatt combined-cycle plant, Bogue consists of three individual units, two combustion turbine generating units with a total capacity of 80 megawatts and a 40-megawatt steam generating unit. The two combustion turbines operate on diesel fuel but are capable of converting to natural gas at any point in the future, according to information posted on the JPS website.

Bogue is one of the JPS' four main power stations. The others are based at Rockfort and Hunts Bay, St Andrew, and Old Harbour Bay in St Catherine.

Discussions on converting the Bogue plant to natural gas have been going on for more than five years.

FTI specialises in natural gas technologies and advanced gas technology products, including compressor systems and dispensing systems for compressed natural gas, compressed hydrogen, and liquefied natural gas.

JPS and the consortium's discussions are taking place at a time when the local power supplier is working on solidifying its agreement with Energy World International, which is to develop a 360-megawatt power plant. The two companies signed a power-purchase agreement just under two weeks ago to pave the way for the start up of the baseload capacity project.