PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, Thursday March 15, 2012 – Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine has gone on record as stating that construction of the natural gas pipeline between Tobago and Barbados will begin in 2013 and should be completed by 2015.
His confirmation follows reports that prime ministers Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Freundel Stuart held bi-lateral talks on the matter during the 23rd inter-sessional meeting of the Caricom Heads of Government in Paramaribo, Suriname last week.
Prime minister Stuart subsequently told Barbados media that the pipeline between the two countries should become a reality “within the next 18 months or so”.
The Eastern Caribbean Gas Pipeline Company (ECGPC) project will involve a 300-kilometre long pipeline run from the Cove Point Estate in Tobago to Barbados, which will supply 30 million standard cubic feet of natural gas per day to the Barbados Light and Power Company, the sole electrical utility on the island. The realisation of the long mooted pipeline is expected to reduce Barbados’ power generation costs and provide a cleaner burning fuel. The average cost of electricity in Barbados is approximately US 25 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), four times as much as Trinidad’s (US 6 cents per kWh).
Shareholders of the ECGPC, which will be constructing the pipeline, are US-based Beowulf Energy LLC and First Reserve Energy Infrastructure Fund—who collectively own a 60 per cent stake; Guardian Holdings Limited, with 15 per cent; the Unit Trust Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (15 per cent); and the state-owned National Gas Company (10 per cent).
Minister Ramnarine has described the project as largely private sector driven by with a certain level of facilitation provided by both governments. He added that the project was seen as important for CARICOM integration and marked Trinidad and Tobago’s role in providing energy security for another CARICOM country.
Ramnarine also reportedly disclosed that he had met with Jamaican Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell recently to reopen dialogue on supplying liquefied natural gas (LNG) to that country. While talks broke down between the two parties in the past, Ramnarineis quoted as stating that he and Paulwell were committed to work together to find a commercial solution to supply Jamaica with LNG, hopefully also by 2015.