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APC months away from providing cleaner, safer electricity to APUA

The construction of the plant will make Antigua & Barbuda the first in the Eastern Caribbean to have the potential to export natural gas.

The construction of the plant will make Antigua & Barbuda the first in the Eastern Caribbean to have the potential to export natural gas.

The Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) will be able to purchase cleaner electricity from the Antigua Power Company Maintenance and Operations Limited (APCMOL) by the end of 2023, when a dual-fuel powered plant at Crabbs Peninsula is scheduled to be completed.

The plant will operate primarily on re-gasified Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). The LNG storage and regasification terminal will supply the fuel for the new power plant. The process is not only environmentally-friendly but is safer and cheaper to produce. The plant is also built to withstand a category 5 hurricane.  

According to Calid Hassad, APC Manager, this new environmentally-friendly way is safer than using diesel, gasoline, propane and Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) which are more prone to combustion. The plant will produce 40% per cent less carbon emissions.

Reducing carbon emissions can help to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change. It contributes to better air quality by reducing air pollution and can slow down the rate at which the Earth’s temperature is increasing (global warming).

It will also make the country the first in the Eastern Caribbean to have the potential to export natural gas. LNG carrier ships will offload at the substation and is then converted into natural gas using the heat from the environment using four of 16 vaporisers.

“We’re going to have a loading station here which will give this terminal the ability to load 40ft ISO tankers that can be loaded on-site and the we export it anywhere within the region on badge,” Francis Hadeed, APC Chairman shared.

The LNG is being supplied from a company called Eagle LNG based in Houston, Texas. He said the manufacturer will also be the supplier in this joint venture.

“When this plant starts up, we’ll no longer have to import the LNG in these Iso tankers from the States. We can just bring the Iso tanks here, fill them and ship them across to Barbuda or St. Kitts or anywhere in the region,” Mr. Hadeed explained.

“This project came with high endorsement from the US Embassy itself,” he added.

The substation is likely to be commissioned in November 2023 and the plant itself will provide low-Sulphur diesel to APUA and gas will be available by the end of 2023.

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APUA and APC have negotiated a revenue sharing arrangement where APUA gets royalties from whatever is exported from the plant.

“So whatever additional benefits that they get we benefit from that too,” remarked Andre Matthias, APUA, Electricity Business Unit Manager.

APUA will own the plant in 12 years but in the meantime, the new facility will provide 40 MwH of additional electricity. According to Mr. Hadeed, the total capital investment for both projects is about XCD$300 million.

About 90 per cent of civil work being carried out at the plant (about 80 to 100 people on the job site) reside in Antigua and Wärtsilä Corporation, which is supplying and installing the LNG plant has provided workers for the more specialized job areas.

At the substation, Mr. Hassad said the numbers will increase as construction moves past the foundation stage.

“After a while it will go up and then it will come down as things get completed. As we draw close to commissioning it becomes more specialized,” he said.

Local workers are being trained to operate both the LNG site and the substation on completion. The funding and insurance for the project is also backed by local institutions.

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