The pending sale of the Barbados National Terminal Company Limited (BNTCL) is getting the blessing of the Barbados Renewable Energy Association (BREA), which described it as a positive step for the country.
BREA has issued a statement in support of the proposed sale, saying it was a constructive move since Government would be divesting itself of an asset whose operation was in conflict with its climate change obligations.
“Government is setting the right tone in the fuel distribution sector by divesting itself of an asset which runs counter to its medium-term international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emission,” BREA President Aidan Rogers said in the statement.
Earlier this month the state-owned Barbados National Oil Company Ltd (BNOCL) revealed it had signed an agreement with the Sir Kyffin Simpson-led Sol Group for the sale of the BNTCL.
It has since been revealed that Government would gain $100 million from the sale.
BNOCL said it would continue to source, import, own and distribute gasoline, diesel and fuel oil to all local marketers, and assured local consumers the sale would not impact their ability to access the products.
Both Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Minister of Industry and Commerce Donville Inniss last week confirmed that the necessary information regarding the sale of the oil storage facility was before the Fair Trading Commission, which is to decide whether or not the Sol Group of companies will take over the facility.
Those challenging the proposed sale include the island’s newest political party, the Barbados Integrity Movement, and the Clement Payne Movement, with both calling for an investigation into the deal.
Sol’s competitor Rubis also opposed the transaction, saying such a move would hurt Rubis’ fuel business and affect domestic fuel prices.
“The politics surrounding the sale is appropriately being dealt with by the politicians. But BREA is of the view that it has a public obligation to provide sectoral context to the discussion,” Rogers said.
BREA justified its support for the proposed sale by referring to Government’s stated intention to reduce its importation of fossil fuels since the release of the 2010 Sustainable Energy Framework for Barbados.
This, the non governmental organization said, runs contrary to BTNCL’s main business.
It also pointed to Barbados’ latest commitment to becoming a 100 per cent renewable energy country, as well as a November 2015 formal submission by Government prior to the climate change conference in Paris, committing itself to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 per cent.
“The energy and waste sectors account for 78 per cent of the island’s carbon emissions. At the COP 21 climate change meeting in France and subsequently in 2016 Barbados legally bonded itself to meeting these targets,” the BREA statement stressed.
Rogers also recalled that BREA had warned at the time that that those targets had direct implications for the business model of the BNTCL.