Wed | Oct 18, 2017

Natural gas conference not limited to energy

Published:Thursday | September 14, 2017 | 12:00 AMSyrannno Baines
Camille Taylor
Hopeton Heron
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Jamaica's inaugural natural gas conference won't be confined to just energy as professionals in other fields required by the new industry will also stand to benefit, according to Camille Taylor, manager of corporate communications, the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ).

"The industry is going to need legal services, persons in taxation, management services, logistics, finance, and manufacturers, which is a very big target group, so it really is open to all," Taylor told The Gleaner on Tuesday during an Editors' Forum at the company's North Street base.

Taylor's disclosure comes just a few weeks before Jamaica's inaugural gas conference, slated for October 4 - 6, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

The conference, a synergy between the PCJ and the Office of Utilities Regulation, seeks to provide a forum to discuss the opportunities, benefits, and implications of the introduction of natural gas into Jamaica's energy mix.

The agenda for the conference has been developed in three broad sections, namely, the global natural gas sector; the local supply scenario; and finance, governance, and regulation.

"Participants will learn about how they can best position themselves or organisation to take advantage of the opportunities in the new industry. We will be providing a space where more experienced energy professionals in the industry can gather and give in-depth analysis of the international natural gas industry, but we also want to look at the local nuances of developing natural gas in Jamaica," Taylor added.

In 2015, the United States-based New Forrest Energy signed a 20-year supply deal with the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), investing US$750 million into the construction of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal.

In November 2016, the JPS Bogue power plant in St James began using LNG, achieving a historic milestone for alternative-fuel use in Jamaica.

A sign of confidence in the industry

While admitting that the conference was long overdue, Deputy Director General of the Office of Utilities Regulation Hopeton Heron stated that events such as the US$330 million investment in the local energy sector by the National Commercial Bank was a sign of confidence in the new industry.

"It's the first time the local financial sector has gone into financing energy, and they've seen where it will be beneficial to them. The New Forrest Energy (NFE) team, led by Wesley Edens, will also be present at the conference," said Heron.

The three-day event, which will also see a field trip and tour of the NFE regasification facility, is open to the public for a cost of US$275.

NFE has since partnered with Red Stripe, a part of the Heineken company, and the University of the West Indies, to provide LNG.