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The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica’s (PCJ) Consultant on the Government’s Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project, Joseph Fossella, has said that it is an opportune time for the country to take advantage of the abundant supply of the “cost effective” energy alternative.
The Ministry has been working to source cheaper alternative fuel, primarily LNG, and is in the process of implementing an LNG Project, aimed at diversifying the country’s energy source and improving energy efficiency and security.
Speaking at a press conference at the Ministry of Energy and Mining, New Kingston, on Monday (June 14), Mr. Fossella noted that there was a shortage of LNG in 2005/06, but the situation has since changed, with reserves currently in abundance.
“It is timely for Jamaica now that supply is available that wasn’t available beforehand, at a competitive cost. So what we are looking at, is grabbing on to that supply in the short-term, so that we can get a long-term, energy security for Jamaica,” he said.
Mr. Fossella said that the Atlantic Basin – Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, North Africa and West Africa – are the areas that are being looked at, as they are rich in LNG. He also cited Nigeria, Angola and Algeria as well as Peru, because of the opening up of the Panama Canal enabling larger ships, as additional LNG sources.
“So we have a fairly rich mining field to look at LNG supply, with the international oil companies, portfolio managers and, in some cases, commodity traders. We are looking at a whole portfolio of potential supplies and traders, so that we can get the best opportunity and the best price for LNG, on a long term basis, for Jamaica,” he said.
Mr. Fossella said that, in addition to the cost of LNG, an ‘attractive” aspect of the project, is the benefits accruable to Jamaica through infrastructural re-tooling for power generation.
Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. James Robertson, who also pointed to the abundance of LNG suppliers, disclosed that the Ministry is currently piloting a procurement process for the fuel, which is expected to be completed “very soon.”
In addition to being a cheaper source of fuel, LNG is odourless, colourless, non-toxic and non-corrosive. The Government began exploring the possibility of natural gas as an alternative fuel in 2001, under an initiative spearheaded by the then Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Science and Technology.