President of the Bahamas Contractors Association says he is confident that contractors on the island of Grand Bahama are capable of facilitating the build out of the $5.5 billion dollar oil refinery and storage facility set to be constructed on the island.
“I don’t see that being outside of the scope of the contractors on Grand Bahama when it comes to the storage facilities,” he said.“I think they will have to engage in a strategic partnership with Nassau-based contractors to really maximize on that opportunity but there are some really big players in Grand Bahama that can take on this scope of project.”
The original Heads of Agreement for Oban Energies Management’s oil refinery was signed on February 19 with additional agreements for the mammoth project will be signed over a two-week period.
Estimated to produce 50,000 barrels daily, the oil refinery will be located on the eastern part of the island. Some 600 direct jobs are anticipated upon completion with more than 1,000 indirect jobs expected during the construction phase.
Sands said that, while the oil refinery would require more specialised outfit, he hopes that The Bahamas Government will ensure that Bahamian contractors are provided with the necessary technical support to develop the future compound.
“I believe the delivery of those materials is going to be specialized so I would appreciate and hope that we have the technical support contractors who could ensure that we have the right people working on that project,” explained Sands. “It could be extremely volatile and risk adverse if we have somebody who doesn’t have the type of experience to build out that kind of refining facility on the project. So I have to believe that the right persons will be engaged to even do that kind of work.
Sands said that he hopes the government will also look beyond the build out and look toward future generations being able to run the facility.
“This is where the government has to look at how they readily prepare our workforce for opportunities like this,” he said. “I think we haven’t prepared for it as a people. How may people can take advantage of an opportunity that we didn’t prepare for? Not many. But I think we can train people quickly if they are allowed to get the requisite experience from someone who is qualified and then they train the person to work hand in hand with them. I think we may miss the opportunity there. I’m hoping that’s not the case.”
The oil refinery has an estimated project cost of up to US$4 billion and the terminal has an estimated cost of US$1.5 billion.