PCJ and OUR Sign MOU to Stage First Natural Gas Conference

Photo: Mark Bell Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley (right), witnesses the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica’s (PCJ) Group General Manager, Winston Watson (left), and the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) Director General, Ansord Hewitt, at the PCJ in New Kingston on August 22. Standing (from left) are Board Chairman of the PCJ, Russell Hadeed; and Deputy Director General of the OUR, Hopeton Heron.

Story Highlights

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been inked by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) and the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) establishing a partnership to host Jamaica’s first natural gas conference.
  • Slated for October 4-6 at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, the conference is aimed at exploring the economic, commercial, legal and regulatory implications of the development of the local natural gas industry.
  • The conference, which is being held under the theme ‘New Horizons: The Development of a Natural Gas Sector in Jamaica – Prospects and Challenges’, will have more than 20 presenters.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been inked by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) and the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) establishing a partnership to host Jamaica’s first natural gas conference.

Slated for October 4-6 at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, the conference is aimed at exploring the economic, commercial, legal and regulatory implications of the development of the local natural gas industry.

Addressing the official MOU signing at the PCJ in New Kingston on August 22, Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, said Jamaica stands to gain a great deal from the uses of liquefied natural gas (LNG), “particularly as it relates to the electricity sector”.

“When we look at the facility out at Bogue (St. James) where LNG is providing electricity at under US13 cents per kWh, and looking at the facility that is expected to come on stream at Jamalco, with the price of electricity coming in even lower at around US11 cents per kWh or so, speaks to the potential of getting even lower prices for electricity,” he said.

Dr. Wheatley added that if more LNG is used, a reduction in the cost of electricity will be achieved.

The Minister argued that the effects of the reduction in the cost of energy will not only be felt by consumers but also by manufacturers, who will be able to boost their production.

Dr. Wheatley said the Government is committed to diversifying Jamaica’s energy source so that “no one fuel source contributes more than 42 per cent”, which will result in a “secure buildout of the energy infrastructure”.

Endorsing the MOU and, by extension, the conference, Dr. Wheatley urged the PCJ and the OUR to extend invitations to other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries to participate, in order to appreciate the benefits of LNG.

Meanwhile, Deputy Director General of the OUR, Hopeton Heron, informed that the country’s National Energy Policy of 2009-2030 speaks to Jamaica having a secured, diversified and sufficient supply of energy, which will, in turn, support long-term economic and social development as well as environmental sustainability.

“This requires, among other things, a national energy-diversification programme, the development of a framework for the introduction of alternative fuels such as natural gas, renewable energy resources and the construction of energy-efficient generating facilities to meet increasing demand,” he said.

Mr. Heron noted that natural gas is poised to become the dominant fuel for the generation of electricity in Jamaica.

For his part, Group General Manager of PCJ, Winston Watson, said it is the role of the PCJ to integrate LNG into the energy sector.

He said the reason for the conference is to get “the general population aware and to understand what LNG is about, so that they can benefit from its use”.

Mr. Watson called for more sponsors to collaborate with the PCJ and the OUR to stage the conference.

The conference, which is being held under the theme ‘New Horizons: The Development of a Natural Gas Sector in Jamaica – Prospects and Challenges’, will have more than 20 presenters.

They include newly appointed President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), Emanuel DaRosa; CEO of New Fortress Energy, Wesley Edens; and President of the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited, Curtis Mohammed.

Participants are expected to gain a better understanding of the opportunities, changes and benefits that should result from the introduction of natural gas into Jamaica’s energy mix.

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