With the Barbados National Terminal Company Limited (BNTCL) now off the privatisation market it appears that its future may rest in oil exploration exploits – even as the Government moves towards the ambitious target of 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
Minister of Energy Wilfred Abrahams has hinted that the BNTCL could have a part to play in oil exports, even though the plan is to no longer burn fossil fuels in Barbados in another 11 years.
“We are committed to having a fossil fuel free generation of electricity by 2030 in Barbados. This does not mean that we are not going to exploit the resources that we have here. We are trying to drive the cost of electricity down for Barbadians, but the Government still needs to do what it has to do to run the country, “Abrahams told Barbados TODAY.
The BNTCL was recently embroiled in controversy, following a decision by the former Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration to sell the state enterprise to regional petroleum giant Simpson Oil Limited (SOL).
Last month, in a media interview, Abrahams had revealed that the proposed $200 million sale, which had failed to gain the approval of the Fair Trading Commission, was off the table.
Abrahams did not outline the next move for the oil terminal, but he stressed that Government’s decision to hold onto BNTCL was not out of sync with the current carbon neutral initiatives.
He said that as Barbados becomes less fossil fuel-dependent, the potential for earning foreign exchange from its crude oil resources greatly increases and therefore the BNTCL could be important in this endeavour.
“So rather than using fossil fuels in Barbados, the Government intends to capitalize in one way or the other on our proven resources. This could be in the form of exporting them, selling them or getting carbon credits. So, the exploration of oil and the facility that we have here are not incompatible with our 2030 vision. We will not be burning fossil fuel to generate electricity, but it does not mean that as a Government we will not be using our resources to bring in foreign exchange, ” he said.