By Morgan Adderley
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE first of three Heads of Agreement for the development of an oil refinery and oil storage facility in Grand Bahama will be signed on Monday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced yesterday.
The Oban Energy project is estimated to be worth more than $4 billion and will lead to the creation of 600 direct jobs and “hundreds” of indirect jobs during the construction phase.
Dr Minnis made the announcement yesterday in an address to the House of Assembly.
Oban Energies will give $150,000 to an “accredited research institute” one year after construction has commenced, he said.
Furthermore, the company will contribute $100,000 per annum to be used for “community projects and the development of East Grand Bahama.”
In a statement yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest added: “Training programmes and the guarantee of Bahamian contracting and employment opportunities are key features of the Agreement.”
In the communication, Dr Minnis provided background for the Agreement and detailed its goals.
He said: “In December 2016 the Government of the Bahamas approved Oban Energies to commence an oil refinery and oil storage facility in Grand Bahama.
“My Government has successfully completed negotiating the Heads of Agreement which paves the way for the commencement of this important project.
“This agreement articulates how this development can proceed. On Monday at 10:00 a.m. at the Office of the Prime Minister the Heads of Agreement will be signed. The following Monday another Heads of Agreement will be signed, and the following Monday, another one will be signed.”
Dr Minnis continued: “I am advised that Oban’s Energies Management Team has been involved in large energy infrastructure projects around the [world] and brings over 30 years of large complex construction experience.”
“Oban Energies has further advised that [first] phase will consist of 4 million barrels of crude storage, a [harbour], and deep sea loading dock, to service large vessels and the construction of a 50,000 barrel per day refinery.”
“In addition, Oban will build up to 20,000,000 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.”
“The oil refinery has an estimated project cost of up to 4 billion US dollars and the terminal has an estimated project cost of up to one billion five hundred million dollars.”
“This is a very significant development for Grand Bahama.”
In the communication, Dr Minnis also provided some points from the Heads of Agreement.
These include: “The Developer acknowledges the importance of the marine environment to the Government and, therefore, shall provide an amount equal to $150,000 to an accredited research institute as may be mutually selected by the Government and Developer.”
“Such payment shall be made by the date that is 12 months after the commencement of construction of the Terminal and/or Oil Refinery.”
“The Developer will use commercially reasonable efforts to use Bahamian material, Bahamian professional services and other Bahamian services in connection with the implementation of the Development Plan.”
“The Developer shall contribute funds in the sum of $100,000 per annum to be used for community projects and the development of East Grand Bahama. There shall be established a local community advisory board to determine the use of said funds.”
In the communication Dr Minnis reiterated his belief that “Grand Bahama is the head wind that must be fixed in order for the entire Bahamas to fully succeed.”
He continued: “Therefore, my Government has paid particular interest and focus on the revitalization of Grand Bahama.”
Consequently, the communication referred to other projects that will start in Grand Bahama. Dr Minnis added: “We are on track to approving the sale and reopening of the Grand Lucayan which will significantly improve the economy of Grand Bahama.”
“I am also pleased that my government has approved in principle the recently announced project in West End.”
In his statement, Mr Turnquest, East Grand Bahama MP, said: “We look forward to this signing and the commencement of construction, which will spur further development of the beautiful communities of East Grand Bahama and help restart the economy of the entire island of Grand Bahama.”
“We look forward to the additional announcements to be made regarding Grand Bahama’s revitalization over the next few weeks.”