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Foulkes Hopeful For ‘Improved’ Oban 2

Labour Minister Dion Foulkes.

Labour Minister Dion Foulkes.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

LABOUR Minister Dion Foulkes yesterday said he was confident negotiations between the government and Oban Energies over a revised deal will be conducted in good faith.

Mr Foulkes said Oban’s principals have indicated an openness to discuss amendments to the controversial Heads of Agreement for a proposed $5.5bn oil refinery and storage facility in East Grand Bahama.

“The technical committee had a series of meetings in New Providence and Grand Bahama and is due to present their report by end of the month, so by August 1,” he said.

“The process after that would be a Cabinet consultation and then we will have a meeting with the principals of Oban to have talks with the view to revising the agreement.

“They (Oban) have indicated that they are open to have a discussion. I do not want to go any further than that until we actually meet but I’m very optimistic that we will come up with a much improved document.”

The Tribune asked if the government was confident about pending negotiations, and whether Oban Energies had any incentive or compulsion to revisit the deal.

Mr Foulkes said: “The full committee had two meetings in Grand Bahama and we had about two meetings in New Providence with the principals of Oban, and they have agreed in principle with respect to making revisions to the agreement.”

Chief among those amendments is the review and adjustment of environmental clauses, economic terms and several “restrictive” legal conditions now in the Heads of Agreement (HOA), he said.

“Environmental concerns are number one, we want to strengthen all of the clauses that deal with the environment with the view to strengthen the environmental protection.

“Economic benefits, not just for East Grand Bahama but for all of Grand Bahama and the whole Bahamas. We want to strengthen the economic benefits, this is a $5.5bn project.

“Then we are looking at the provisions dealing with legal requirements and legal framework around which the entire HOA was formed.

“This is a comprehensive study and investigation we are doing, we are taking our time to do it because we want to get it right.”

Mr Foulkes said once a revised agreement is finalised and signed, it will likely be tabled in Parliament.

“The main thing is we are doing this very deliberately,” he said, “and we are making sure that we cover all of the bases.”

The deal has received intense push-back from civic groups, including several of the country’s foremost environmental organisations, since it was first unveiled nearly five months ago.

The fallout prompted an admission from Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis that there were gross missteps in government process.

Oban Energies has reportedly spent $10 million on the project so far, according to its president, Satpal Dhunna, who said a significant amount of those funds were used to nail down the best location.

Comments

John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Is the government passing the exit door again on this travesty? Get out!

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TheMadHatter 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Will the Bahamian people - in this new agreement - get EVEN ONE CENT PER GALLON of crude oil processed?

Will this money be distributed evenly amoung individual NIB account numbers quarterly and be available for withdrawal at any NIB office twice per year?

No. Of course not. Because we are Bahamians and we forever be droppin' da soap.

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Seriously, Comrade Minister Dion's OBAN 2 knickers went right into his ass crack. Watching Minister Dion discharging his supposedly substantive "free from octopus clutches Minnis" ministerial duties is like watching porn. { Can't make up likes how long can you go before you're tempted peek see if it's true that Dion's OBAN 2 knickers have slid right into his
ass crack }. Do me favour - spare me from peeking, so peek me.

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birdiestrachan 3 months, 2 weeks ago

If doc signed a contract. The government is bound by that contract. OBAN has all of the cards. including no VAT and no duty and beach front property to build homes for what ever they say.

Truth when you dumb you dangerous.

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birdiestrachan 3 months, 2 weeks ago

10 million to find the righty location then they met doc and it was all over. Sands and Dames were present for the fake sighing the big LIE, And they talk about corruption

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proudloudandfnm 3 months, 2 weeks ago

You guys just realizing what ya'll did hey? Oban never had any intentions of building a damned thing. They got exactly what they wanted. A HOG that gives them every concession known to man, ya'll even gotta go into the HOA and change tax laws for em. They got a carte blanche agreement to do whatever they want regardless of an EIA report. And you guys gave em the ok to transfer all of those spectacular concessions to a new owner. They don't have to build anything. They can just go sell the sweetest deal known to man to an actual oil company for hundreds of millions without ever having hit hammer to nail. All thanks to you guys.

Considering the state of the oil industry the last 5 years it is highly doubtful they can sell it though.

Ya'll basically got conned by people who know absolutely nothing about the oil industry...

Bout a refinery. Lol. To refine what? Every oil producer on erf refines in country. Who's oil they ga refine???? If a refinery was needed then no doubt both Borco and Stat Oil would have opened one decades ago.

Ya'll got suckered by suckers...

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truetruebahamian 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Where did that 10 million go? Tell them to pack their georgie bundle and bags and 'oban' them from these islands.

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Ma Comrade TrueTrueBahamalander, Grand Bahamalanders need be asking their red shirts MP's - mind telling we - exactly what is the evidence of the $10 millions having been spent - considering they are office less in Freeport. Smoke and mirrors $10 millions live in fantasy world OBAN 1- soon spill over living in OBAN 2. { Ain't no call be makin' this OBAN 2, up }.

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