BPL urged to be ‘upfront’ on Shell deal

BPL urged to be ‘upfront’ on Shell deal
Debbie Deal, head of the Chamber’s energy and environment division.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) executives must be ‘upfront’ and address concerns over the Shell deal, a private sector representative said yesterday.

Debbie Deal, chair of the Chamber of Commerce’s energy and environment committee, told Eyewitness News there was a “transparency issue” surrounding the matter.

“The thing that bothers me is why are we paying for these two plants to be built when the agreement that we understood was Shell, when they won the RFP for the 80 MW of backup generation was that it wasn’t going to cost the Bahamian people and BPL any money.

“That’s what I understood,” she said.

The revelation that BPL intends to sell stations A and D at the Clifton Pier Power Plant to Shell North America has raised even more questions over the company’s dealings with the energy giant.

According to the November 2010 memorandum of understanding Shell would pay for marine infrastructure to receive liquefied natural gas; a gas pipeline to bring gas to shore; an onshore LNG re-gasification terminal and a new gas-fire 220-plus megawatt power plant.

However, BPL constructed the $95 million 132-megawatt plant at Station A at Clifton that came online last December.

The company also plans to construct another 90-megawatt plant at Station D at Clifton.

BPL Chairman Dr Donovan Moxey said last week BPL plans to sell those plants to Shell and enter into an agreement to buy energy from a new company formed through the sale.

Moxey has previously explained BPL decided to undertake the construction of the two plants on its own due to the complex nature of negotiations with Shell and the dire state of the company generation assets.

“If the situation was so dire, then wouldn’t they have sat down for two days and not left the room until Shell and BPL were happy with an agreement and sign off on it,” Deal said.

“If things were so dire where did they come up with all this money. Why would they sell it to Shell if they have already gotten it up to this point? If BPL can pay upfront for everything themselves then that tells me as a businessman that they obviously don’t have a money problem.”

Deal said: “They just need to be upfront and honest with us. They can’t get upset with us because the story keeps changing and we’re hearing things we never heard before.

“BPL is going to build the plant and then sell it back to Shell? They need to come clean and explain this a bit better. There is a total transparency issue here.”