Eastern Caribbean gas pipeline coming back on stream
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Thursday January 12, 2012 – After a close to five-year hiatus, the much anticipated Eastern Caribbean gas pipeline has found new backers and a new lease on life.
In an announcement yesterday (December 11) the Trinidadian company announced that Beowulf Energy LLC of New York and First Reserve Energy Infrastructure Fund, with offices in Greenwich, Houston, Hong Kong and London, have acquired a majority ownership interest in the company.
It is expected that with these two new entities on board the long mooted natural gas export pipeline from Trinidad and Tobago to islands in the Eastern Caribbean will soon get underway.
Prior to this transaction, the Eastern Caribbean Gas Pipeline Company Limited shareholders were Guardian Holdings Limited, Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation, The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited and Intra-Caribbean Gas Pipeline Company Limited.
Although no new start date was announced, the announcement stated that Phase I of the project, will feature the construction and operation of a 300 kilometer natural gas pipeline from the Cove Point Estate in Tobago to Barbados. The national electricity company, Barbados Light & Power Co. Ltd, had previously stated that the pipeline would allow them to bring down their generation costs considerably as they currently use bulk fuel, whose price has continued to escalate on the world market. A joint project between the Barbados government and a local car dealership had also seen the pilot of natural gas fuelled cars, which currently run on small scale off the island’s own scarce natural gas resources but could be expanded to the general populace once the pipeline comes on stream.
Phase II of the project will involve extending the pipeline from Barbados to other Eastern Caribbean islands and the principals stated that the pipeline is expected to significantly lower the cost of producing electricity in countries such as Barbados which rely primarily on fuel oil to produce electricity. The pioneering project will help reshape the regional energy market and reduce dependence on oil based products.
Eastern Caribbean Gas Pipeline spokesman, R. Gregory Rich said of the new development: “The company is excited to have Beowulf and FREIF as majority project sponsors in this ground-breaking regional energy infrastructure project. The extensive energy infrastructure experience and substantial financial resources of Beowulf and FREIF will accelerate the implementation of this regionally important project thereby creating long term value for the company’s investors while delivering tangible financial and environmental benefits to the islands served by the pipeline.”
Beowulf Energy CEO Paul Prager noted, “We are grateful to our new fellow partners for the vision and foresight in identifying and developing a long term solution for lower priced energy in the Eastern Caribbean region. We look forward to completing the construction of this important project.”
In addition to operations in the US, Beowulf Energy operates and manages Trinity Power a 225 MW contracted natural gas fired power generation facility in Pt. Lisas, Trinidad. Apart from its new joint venture with First Reserve Corporation in the Eastern Caribbean Gas Pipeline, Beowulf is selling to First Reserve a substantial equity stake in Trinity Power.
With over US$23 billion of raised capital since inception dedicated exclusively to the energy and natural resources industries, First Reserve is a premier private investment firm, making both private equity and infrastructure investments throughout the energy value chain.