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Jamaica to host first natural gas conference

Published:Tuesday | August 22, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Ansord Hewitt (centre), director general of the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR); Winston Watson (left), group general manager of Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ); and Dr Andrew Wheatley (right), minister of science, energy and technology signing the memorandum of understanding between PCJ and OUR for the staging of Jamaica’s first natural gas conference at PCJ Auditorium, St Andrew on Tuesday.

The collaboration between the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica and the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), to host Jamaica's first natural gas conference in October, is expected to take Jamaica one step closer to establishing a modern and efficient energy sector.

Hopeton Heron, deputy director general of the OUR, said the event presents a chance for a wide range of stakeholders to learn about the opportunities, changes and benefits that should result from the introduction of natural gas into Jamaica's energy mix.

"Natural gas is poised to become the dominant fuel for generation of electricity in Jamaica. Jamaica is moving at various levels to achieve these strategic objectives. The overall goal of the conference is to provide stakeholders with an understanding of the impact, investment opportunities, legal and regulatory implications and environmental benefit of the introduction of natural gas to Jamaica," he said as he addressed persons at the signing of a memorandum of understanding to facilitate the conference.




Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley said despite the push for liquefied natural gas (LNG), the greater objective is for diversification.

"We have seen over the last couple months, or two years or so, the arrival of LNG as fuel source. And with the arrival of LNG come numerous possibilities. I believe that as a country, there is a lot for us to achieve or to gain from the arrival of LNG," said Wheatley.

"When we look at the facility out by Bogue (Montego Bay), LNG is providing electricity under US13 cents per kilowatt-hour, and looking at the facility, which is expected to come on stream at Jamalco, the price of electricity coming in is expected to be even lower, at around US11 cents per kilowatt-hour. This speaks to the potential of even getting lower prices for electricity."

He added, "A critical part of the arrangement is that the more we use LNG we will see a reduction in the cost of electricity, so the higher the volume of LNG on land, you will see reduction in the price of electricity to the consumers. This government is committed to diversification, and even though we are pushing for LNG, I know for a fact that we are still committed to ensuring that no one fuel source contributes more than 42 per cent. That is part of our build-up of a secure energy infrastructure. "