The developer behind a planned golf resort in the eastern districts is now seeking to bring a new bulk fuel storage facility to Grand Cayman.
Port Breakers, a new sister company to Ironwood, and Texas-based energy company Navasota Energy Services say they have acquired a plot of land in the Breakers area, previously earmarked by Dart Real Estate as the proposed location for a new landfill site. Dart is not directly involved in the fuel storage project.
Navasota and Ironwood are involved in a partnership that seeks to bring a massive fuel storage depot and terminal to Cayman, for transshipping fuel throughout the region.
As currently envisaged, the plan does not involve the construction of a port, but would service ships from offshore mooring buoys in a similar fashion to the existing terminal at Jackson Point, though significantly larger in scale.
Ironwood believes this will help pay for the East-West Arterial road extension, a 10-mile highway project considered pivotal to the long-term success of the golf resort.
Neither Navasota nor Ironwood is proposing to operate the facility. They will seek to acquire planning approvals and permits for the project before going out to bid for companies to build and operate the terminal.
Navasota CEO Frank Giacalone said his company would seek to find, through a request for proposals process, a major oil company that would run the facility, paying annual licensing fees to government.
He said it would be a business opportunity for the oil company.
“There are worldwide operators who are going to be interested in a facility like this for the western Caribbean,” he said. “The huge additional benefit is it gives you reserve fuel on the island and easy access to cheaper fuel.”
Outlining how the terminal would operate, Mr. Giacalone said it would be able to store fuel for the commodities futures markets, refuel large ocean-going ships and store and distribute fuel. He said it could also supply the local market.
“The majority of it would be fuel brought here in bulk and cut down and distributed to other areas in the region.”
David Moffitt, CEO of Ironwood, said the project was not linked to the golf resort, which has been granted planning permission but has not commenced. But he said it would help pay for the road extension.
He said the site designated for the fuel terminal was previously offered by Dart to government as a potential new landfill site.
“We have the land under contract – that is why we can make it public,” he said.
Lee Hudson, project manager on the Kimpton resort, now working with Ironwood, said the land had already undergone an environmental impact assessment for the landfill and was designated for industrial use. He accepted that there could be some opposition, given the backlash to plans for a landfill at the same site, but said he hoped it would be minimal.
He said the transshipment facility would be an entirely new revenue stream for government with the spin-off benefit of bringing cheaper fuel to consumers on island.
He said, “The fuel transshipment has the ability to provide a revenue stream that should the CIG choose, will pay for the road and provide revenue for an infrastructure fund for the island.
“You can’t do the transshipment, at least not for the local market, without the road. That is the piece of infrastructure that everybody at that end of the island is chomping at the bit to have.”