Jamaica, which says it stands to gain a great deal from the uses of liquefied natural gases (LNG), will stage its first conference on the commodity in October.
The government said that it is hoped the October 4-6 event is aimed at exploring the economic, commercial, legal and regulatory implications of the development of the local natural gas industry.
Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Dr Andrew Wheatley, said the island stands to gain a great deal from the uses of 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 told a ceremony where the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) and the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing a partnership to host the conference.
Wheatley said that if more LNG is used, a reduction in the cost of electricity will be achieved, adding 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.
He 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 build out of the energy infrastructure”.
In endorsing the MOU, Wheatley urged the PCJ and the OUR to extend invitations to other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries to participate in the conference in order to appreciate the benefits of LNG.
OUR deputy director General, Hopeton Heron, said that the country’s National Energy Policy of 2009-2030 addresses Jamaica plans to have 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.
Heron noted that natural gas is poised to become the dominant fuel for the generation of electricity in Jamaica.
PCJ Group general manager, Winston Watson, said it is the role of his organisation 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”.
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 including the newly appointed President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), Emanuel DaRosa and the President of the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited, Curtis Mohammed.