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Natural gas talks set for month end

Published:Wednesday | March 3, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Barbados government says it is aiming to start negotiations by the end of this month on the importation of natural gas via pipeline from Trinidad and Tobago.

It said the decision stems from a February 18 Cabinet decision and is in keeping with the government's efforts to transform the economy from fossil fuels to one driven by natural gas.

"The importation of natural gas by pipeline is expected to significantly reduce Barbados' annual fuel-import bill and generate substantial savings throughout the economy, said Minister of Economic Affairs, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr David Estwick.

"It will provide significant economic and social benefits, including consumer savings and reductions in the country's fuel-import bill, while impacting positively on the island's balance of payments," he added.

The Economic Affairs Minister said that in an environment of volatile crude oil prices and the negative impact on the balance of payments, money could be saved through the importation of natural gas.

A government statement said Dr Estwick will lead the Barbados negotiation team's effort to hammer out a number of accords, including a Harmonised Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA), a Host Government Agreement and a clearly defined formula for a tariff reduction to Barbados when countries such as Guadeloupe, St Lucia and Dominica utilise the pipeline.