Doubts over T&T- Guyana power project

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Enman’s President Donald Baldeosingh.
Enman’s President Donald Baldeosingh.

[Trinidad Guardian]The Guyana government has cast doubts over a multimillion-dollar project spearheaded by a T&T firm aimed at boosting that country’s electricity supply.

Last year, Enman Services Ltd announced plans for a major energy project in Guyana involving a US$700 million submarine power cable linking the two countries to sell excess electricity from this country to Guyana.

Enman’s President Donald Baldeosingh, a former chairman of state-owned Petrotrin, said the company had developed a series of “giga” projects involving the two countries at a total cost of US$4.2 billion.

They include an aluminum smelter in Guyana for US$560 million, a deepwater port for US$700 million, an industrial park for US$250 million, a hydro plant for US$2 billion and a training institute for US$70 million.

However, in a statement last week, Guyana’s Energy Minister Sam Hinds said the agreement with Enman to conduct studies for construction of the hydro-power dam had expired since 2010 and there is currently no memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the company and Guyana.

“Enman Services Ltd had applied for and was granted an MoU in 2001 to conduct studies at the Takwari site, which was amended a few months later, substituting the Turtruba site. That MoU was amended from time to time, eventually expiring by effluxion of time in July 2010 and Enman Services Ltd was duly informed,” Hinds said.

Information on Enman’s Web site shows that the company was hoping to take some of the excess power from a plant in La Brea, and send it via submarine cable to Guyana, which is struggling to meet electricity demands. Once constructed, the hydro dam in Mazaruni would have sent power back to T&T by the same cable.

Along with its partners, Hardy Stevenson and Associates of Toronto, Canada, Enman completed a pre-feasibility study on the Turtruba site which showed that the project was technically feasible.

Baldeosingh said he was seeking an agreement with the government of Guyana to facilitate the power cable from T&T. He said the cable could be in place in three years, delivering T&T’s surplus power to Guyana.

“Once we bring that power and establish connection, we will go ahead with Turtruba. We will then bring back power to Trinidad and other places so that Guyana becomes a net exporter of power,” he said, adding that a full feasibility study on the power link between the two countries is to begin soon and should last about five months.

Once that study is completed, the project developers will use it to leverage financing from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and CAF, the development bank of Latin America, he said.

Information from Enman is that the power that will become available will far exceed current and foreseeable demand in Guyana, “hence the opportunity to create new demand through establishment of a port and industrial park, as well as to export power to Trinidad & Tobago and to Northern Brazil.”

The company said T&T has around 500 megawatts of excess power generation capacity and is faced with a “take or pay” situation.

“This power can be made available to the new industrial park in Guyana via a submarine power cable at a price of US$0.10 to 0.13, a highly competitive power price. It is envisaged that the availability of low cost power will result in many new industries in Guyana,” the company said.

The Enman Group is described as a grouping of “technology-oriented” companies operating in the Caribbean. Its principals include Baldeosingh and Aldwyn Lequay.

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