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‘Exploit energy sector’s potential’

Article taken from the MIDWEEK Nation – September 28, 2022

MORE WILL BE done to encourage local investors and companies to exploit the potential of Barbados’ energy sector says Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Business Development Sandra Husbands.

And in a few months, companies will be invited to propose acreage that can be included in an upcoming offshore licensing and bidding process.

“We believe that every citizen must be allowed to participate, even if the participation is limited to mounting the photovoltaic cells. We also want to reach out to those persons who have funds sitting in the banking sector and encourage them to find ways in which to invest some of that money in this energy sector, so that more and more Barbadians are positioned to participate in the wealth of this country,” Husbands said.

She made those comments on Monday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St Michael, during the opening of the three-day Energy Local Content and Share Fair. The event is being held in collaboration with the Energy Division, India-UN Development Fund and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Early engagement

The Share Fair and workshop were organised to promote early engagement between suppliers and potential clients. In addition, it will allow for clients, project owners and contractors to interact and share information with suppliers so they can understand the needs of International Energy Companies (IECs).

It is another activity that will hopefully help Barbados become a 100 per cent renewable energy sector and a carbon-neutral state by 2030. Husbands announced that by December companies will be able to make submissions.

“Recently, at the international meeting for applied geoscience and energy, which was held in August 2022 in Houston, Texas, the Ministry of Energy and Business formally announced its plans to launch the Barbados 2022 Offshore Licensing Round on December 1, 2022.

“Interested companies will be invited to nominate acreage from available blocks, for inclusion in the bidding process. The upcoming licensing round presents an opportunity to explore the island’s untapped deep-water potential under a competitive legal, fiscal and regulatory framework,” Husbands said.

She added that as there were still many issues limiting the effective participation of local suppliers in the energy industry value chain, evaluating them against the availability of local suppliers was of paramount interest.

Limitations

Some of these issues were the availability and capability of local suppliers to meet the needs of the International Energy Companies (IECs); the small size and immature nature of the energy industry; lack of production capacity of local firms; lack of financial assistance; skill shortages; legislation that does not yet support local content; and poor infrastructure of the emerging energy industry.

“Given that these challenges and barriers are likely to hinder local content development in the energy sector in Barbados, the Government, with the assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat, is seeking to address them by strengthening the policy and regulatory framework for local content development and its oversight capacity. The Government also endeavours to develop the capabilities of local suppliers to world-class standards and facilitate their access to market opportunities in the energy sector,” Husbands added.

Economic adviser to the Commonwealth Secretariat Victor Kintange and Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Business, Debra Dowridge highlighted the importance of the workshop and urged the participants to take advantage.

“Access to relevant and timely information about opportunities developing in the industry is critical to the ability to work effectively and take advantage,” Kintange said.

Dorridge added: “As our country continues its transition to being a 100 per cent renewable energy island state by 2030, the local content policy will be vital in ensuring that we build the capability and capacity of our people and businesses to allow them to compete with other bidders from the international arena when the opportunities arise.” (TG)

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