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Dpm: $4bn Refinery To Help Eastern Gb Reach 'Full Potential'

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

THE Deputy Prime Minister yesterday said the $4 billion oil refinery that the Government plans to approve on Monday will help his constituency "reach its full potential".

K P Turnquest, the east Grand Bahama MP, urged his constituents to equip themselves with "the basics" and meet entry-level requirements if they are to maximise the entrepreneurial and employment opportunities offered by the Oban Energies project.

The Prime Minister yesterday told the House of Assembly that the Government plans to sign the Heads of Agreement for the development, which also includes a $1.5 billion storage terminal, next week as part of its efforts to revive Grand Bahama's struggling economy through foreign direct investment (FDI) projects.

Describing the Oban Energies project as "extremely important" for east Grand Bahama and the wider island, Mr Turnquest said the Government had been "assured" the Carnival cruise port signed-off by the Christie administration would still proceed.

That, too, is intended to be located in eastern Grand Bahama, and the Deputy Prime Minister told Tribune Business: "We have been assured that this project will still go ahead, but there are a few technical issues being cleared."

As for Oban Energies, a project exclusively revealed by Tribune Business last November, Mr Turnquest added: "This is an extremely important project as it will serve to create business and employment opportunities to an area that has yet to reach its full potential.

"The training opportunities included in the Heads of Agreement will benefit the residents and wider Grand Bahama. The numbers suggested, as much as 1,200 construction jobs and 600 permanent jobs, will have a very positive impact, particularly in technical and engineering fields."

Mr Turnquest told his constituents to prepare their resumes, and "take advantage now" of training offered by the National Training Agency (NTA), Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI), Pineyard Steel and others "so they have the basics in order to make the entry requirements".

The Prime Minister yesterday said Oban Energies will develop its project in phases, with the first stage to feature construction of four million barrels of crude storage; a harbour; and deep sea loading dock to service large vessels. A 50,000 barrel per day refinery will also be built.

Ultimately the group, which has more than 30 years' experience in constructing large energy-related infrastructure projects, will build a 20 million barrel liquid bulk storage facility and a 250,000 barrel per day refinery.

"Oban Energies has committed to creating 600 direct jobs, and we anticipate hundreds of indirect jobs during construction," Dr Minnis said. "The oil refinery has an estimated project cost of up to $4 billion, and the terminal has an estimated project cost of up to $1.5 billion."

He added that Oban Energies had committed to "use commercially reasonable efforts" to use Bahamian materials, professional services and other services during its construction phase.

Tribune Business revealed last November that Oban Energies has hired Bahamas-based Islands by Design as its environmental consultants, with Lambert Knowles also engaged to perform geotechnical work.

The Mosko Group has also been hired for construction and engineering work. And another company with local connections is GBP Holdings LLC, whose principals are George Mosko and Alexander Grikitis.

Peter Kreiger, Oban Energies' managing director, told Tribune Business then that the group was "aiming to hit the ground running in the New Year", with construction set to create between 300-600 jobs "at a single time".

He added that completion of the project's Heads of Agreement would enable Oban's Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be submitted for approval, and kickstart the permitting and approvals process, with Mr Kreiger optimistic this would begin in the New Year.

Mr Kreiger said the group aimed to begin pre-construction in 2018, describing the project as "a win-win" for both Oban and the Bahamas - especially where the latter's economy and employment were concerned.

Oban was then proposing a $1.5 billion first phase investment in a 20 million barrel, "multi-purpose" bulk storage facility for petroleum products, which will be located within one to two miles of east Grand Bahama's existing Statoil terminal.

The development, which is expected to be completed in 2021, also involves a 250,000 barrel per day oil refinery. This represents the potential return of oil refining to Grand Bahama, and means Oban is envisioning a grander project than the existing Buckeye Partners-owned BORCO facility.

"The majority of the jobs will be higher paying jobs than the average Bahamian salary, according to the economic study we've provided to then Government," Mr Kreiger told Tribune Business.

"We feel it will be a valuable contributor to help the economic recovery for the island. The study showed that for every dollar earned by someone employed by us, the economy will feel a 1.6x (times) multiplier effect. People will be going out to dine more, going to the theatre more and stimulating the economy now they have more disposable income."

Oban Energies, like BORCO, is aiming to exploit Grand Bahama's US proximity and location on major shipping routes to serve as an offshore distribution/break bulk hub to an energy industry struggling for deep water ports on the Gulf Coast and south-east US.

Larger vessels from North Africa, Europe and Asia can have their loads broken down, and transferred to smaller vessels, who will then take the product from Grand Bahama into the US. And US oil and energy exports can use the same route in reverse to get their products to market.

Comments

birdiestrachan 1 year, 7 months ago

When is Hepburn in all of this? Has he stopped his complaints about BORC?. It is my hope that the cruise port will come to fruition also. We shall see if they can co exist.

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TalRussell 1 year, 7 months ago

Ma Comrades Imperial Red Cabinet and Red MP's for Grand Bahama - where are the environment and Social impacts for activates risks which will be associated with this or any petroleum refining and the storage of petroleum products? And, are Grand Bahamians along all Bahamalanders - been made aware great risks from such petroleum products activities?

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HonestTruth 1 year, 7 months ago

Please ignore ignorant posters like the one above.

This is fantastic news for the people of Grand Bahama and I am happy to see activity starting to pick.

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realitycheck242 1 year, 7 months ago

While the world moves forward with renewable energy industries we are getting deeper into the fossil fuel era. Why could this not have been a factory for the manufacturing of solar panels ? This heads of agreements shows how desperate the Gov is to get something going in freeport. This is not a win win for our marine resources. This is not a win win for our land and the mangrove areas in east GB. No development of this magnitude is good for our environment. Lets go after manufacturing industries that are changing the global carbon footprint. Solar, wind, Hydro,Wave, Geothermal,Biofuel and the like.... . On one hand we complain about global warming, climate change, sea level rise, and as an archipelagic nation we are in the forefront of being affected. This agreement is like shooting ourselves in the foot., but i guess money talks.

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PapaBear 1 year, 6 months ago

405 ppm CO2, the likely end of the Bahamas by 2070, possible end of civilization in the first half of the 22nd century, The Bahamas signed the Paris Accord agreeing to reduce carbon, this new refinery is a slap in the face, we are no longer victims of climate destruction, but rather coconspirator's with the fossil fuel industry helping to nail the coffin shut on our great grand children, death by conflict and starvation. The question is how can this project be stopped with sell out politicians who seem not to have any descendant's that they care about. .

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sealice 1 year, 7 months ago

Another bloody environmental nightmare refinery? Why can't you find something better then this I mean if you don't care so much just build another golf course..... at least they have to hire bahamians for the landscaping at the refinery the only Bahamians are gonna be security guards and receptionists..... and who the hell wants to drive all the way to East End? WHY WHY are we fooling with this type of thing why put in a giant solar farm that will actually benefit Bahamians and help reduce our dependency on oil?

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realitycheck242 1 year, 7 months ago

Agreed ...we need to seek as a country to rise on the world's green economy list

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TalRussell 1 year, 7 months ago

Ma Comrades, even Wallace Groves couldn't steer his Magic City of Freeport on steady economic course. I have preached for years Freeport's only economic salvation is allow Bahamalanders take native ownership possession Freeport to align with the Abaco's - resurrecting the plan connecting the two as one by bridge. Stop begging foreigners come save Freeport cause it just ain't never going work.... this Imperial Red Cabinet's back is so against the wall that it will sign over Freeport's graveyards be dugs up to be turned into sludge production facilities - if it will attract foreigners promising save their political asses.

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DDK 1 year, 7 months ago

Is this by any slight chance a resurrection of the old Burmah Oil facility?

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SP 1 year, 7 months ago

Perry Christie would have dragged this HOA out for 4 years then screw it up anyway!

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birdiestrachan 1 year, 7 months ago

has as the FNM Forgotten that the people of PINDERS point complain day and night about BORCO** some even blame their health issues are BORCO What will they do to be sure that the people of East End do not have the same problems??

This project appears to be even bigger than BORCO

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Islandboy242242 1 year, 7 months ago

Would like to see more green initiatives vs Dinosaur technology and messy crude oil storage but I understand the draw. My worries would be the tankers coming from other foreign countries and little care/attention/regulation when it comes to their oil transfer to the mainland, and when and where they are allowed to empty their ballast water. All kind of crud, crap, and invasive marine species could be in that ballast water. . . . Last point...anyone find it strange that there are no available MLS realty listings for East Grand Bahama? Who is holding on to the property waiting for things to develop in East GB. Would like to think private citizens could be allowed to buy their piece of East Coast GB beach property but there's nothing available???

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observer2 1 year, 7 months ago

During the next Super Hurricane, ocean surge, +150 mph winds, the environmental disaster will be worse than what hit Pueto RIco.

But the above named will have already made thier money and we Bahamians will be left with the clean up.

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observer2 1 year, 7 months ago

Also I hope the government is consulting with the state of Florida. They just turned down offshore ocean drilling. I wonder if they will be overjoyed with an oil depots a about 200 miles away just slightly above sea level, regulated by a non existent Bahamian oil regulator. Is this a joke or what?

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 7 months ago

The FNM needs to create a "Freeport" in the Southern Bahamas ........ maybe on one of the islands that sit on the Crooked Island Passage (Long Island, Crooked Island or Acklins) ....... The Government fails to appreciate that more bulk cargo ships and cruise ships pass through this Passage than anywhere else except the Florida Straits ........ Come on PM, we need to eat too.

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John 1 year, 7 months ago

There are two major reasons behind this refinery/ oil storage facility. But since most Bahamians only see things in perspective from one election to the next they will not understand or accept the explanation. Who needs oil?

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John 1 year, 7 months ago

The projection is that production of gas powered vehicles in the US will decrease from 18 million units a year to 6 million per year within 3 years. now put on your thinking caps as more driver-less electric powered and transportation services, some of which will become driver-less become avaialble. The demand or oil based products will decrease..so Where is this oil refinery and the products for/ Details at 9.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 7 months ago

There are more uses for oil & gasoline than to fuel vehicles in the USA.

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