The article below was published on Sunday (Dec 31) in the older of the two daily newspapers in my neck of the woods. My feeling is that this is an effort by this newspaper to bolster opinion that initiatives to introduce NG as a fuel in Jamaica are the best solution to the islands energy challenges.
For some background, US outfit New Fortress Energy has been having some success with introducing NG as a fuel to the island. There has been a long protracted process to do this that has been mired in corruption with a former energy minister being involved in the setting up of a company that was to supply LNG to the island but it seems New Fortress was finally able to come up with a scheme that satisfied the government and the local private sector. The “Our Work page lists supply of LNG to a 120 MW (Combined Cycle) electricity generating station in Montego Bay that has been converted to run on NG, a floating storage and regasification terminal to supply LNG to a brand new gas-fired combined cycle power plant under construction by the local electricity utility and supply of NG to a new power plant at a bauxite to alumina operation in central Jamaica. It has also been reported in the media that, the island’s largest beverage manufacturer has installed a co-generation pant to provide power, process heat and cooling to their operations, the local campus of the regional university is setting up a co-gen plant on the campus and a second beverage manufacturer/distributor is to set up a co-gen plant as well. I have seen “New Fortress” branded storage tanks at the beverage manufacturer and a single tank at the university’s facility. It is extremely likely that the third announced co-gen pant is also a New Fortress customer. I am a little suspicious of the fact that the entirety of New Fortress’ customer base appears to be in Jamaica.
I am somewhat concerned that my island home is being sucked in by the “energy abundance” hype. Once the infrastructure has been put in place and the co-gen and power plants are built, it will be a difficult/expensive undertaking to to try and switch energy sources again. These Jamaican operations will be married to NG for decades to come.
Last November, diplomats from Brazil to Japan joined oil and gas executives at the headquarters of Washington’s largest lobbying group to christen a new partnership.
Inside the marble walls of the US Chamber of Commerce, a crowd of 200 welcomed the US Gas Infrastructure Exports Initiative ó a coalition of 25 companies, nine trade groups, five law firms, at least five federal agencies and a non-profit think tank. Its mission: to drive sales of American natural gas by pumping dollars into pipelines and gas-processing facilities overseas.
The initiative, coordinated in part by a natural gas lobbyist, is the latest federal effort to market the fuel as a “clean” energy source amid surging US drilling and exports. American gas production is projected to account for almost 40 per cent of the world’s gas growth through 2040, according to the International Energy Agency. Countries like China are buying up tank loads of LNG – natural gas that has been supercooled to liquefy it ó to generate power, heat buildings and fuel trucks.
“When it comes to exporting LNG, the United States is open for business,” Mark Menezes, undersecretary of the US Department of Energy, assured the audience at the launch of the gas initiative. Menezes, a former utility industry lobbyist, added that exporting US liquefied natural gas is “clearly in our economic interest.”