Current Affairs

Current Affairs




Gov't eyes natural gas programme
The Gleaner
March 22, 2002T



JAMAICA IS to seek assistance from Japan and South Korea towards setting up a terminal in Kingston, for the importation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as part of its fuel diversification programme.

Anthony Hylton, Mining and Energy Minister, disclosed this at a press briefing at his ministry on Wednesday, after returning home from visits to both countries at the head of a technical delegation.

He said his team wanted to find out what kind of assistance would be available from Japan and South Korea, should Jamaica decide to follow the diversification strategy. Both countries are involved in diversifying their energy import bases from oil to natural gas.

He also wanted to know, he said, if Japanese and South Korean investors would be interested in the setting up here of the infrastructure necessary for the importation, storage, re-gasification and distribution of natural gas to Jamaican power and industrial consumers.

Pre-feasibility studies and discussions with stakeholders in Jamaica, including potential users of the energy such as the Jamaica Public Service Co. Ltd., the public transport and the bauxite/alumina sectors are expected to start soon.

He said his Ministry is to start discussions with potential national suppliers of LNG. Should the project go ahead, Jamaica would be among the first developing countries to build an LNG facility and industrial complex.

Mr. Hylton said he was looking at having the proposals for the introduction of natural gas on the table by 2005. He estimated the cost of the infrastructure to support the importation of LNG at US$200 million to $300 million.

He said that Japan and South Korea were keen to help Jamaica embark on the programme.

Companies in both countries have indicated an interest in possible equity financing of the infrastructure necessary for the importation of LNG.

Natural gas would be about 25 per cent cheaper than oil and is much more environmentally friendly, Mr. Hylton said.