Developers plan to approach the Cayman Islands government to propose a liquefied natural gas terminal at Breakers.
Breakers-LNG (Cayman) Ltd., led by David Moffitt, and Texas-based Eagle LNG Partners, are proposing the establishment of the floating LNG terminal moored at a site by Scotts Quarry.
Moffitt, speaking to the Cayman Compass via Zoom on Tuesday evening, said the project, which is still in its early stages, solely deals with the creation of an LNG terminal, including off-shore moorings, and does not involve building a cargo or cruise port at the site.
A rendering of a port and ship-fuelling area at the site has been circulating on social media this week, causing some alarm among community members who had earlier strongly opposed a proposed cruise ship dock in George Town.
“We’ve seen what’s happened with the cruise port in town, and we know of the sensitivity involved from an environmental standpoint, and we want everyone to know we are not proposing a port,” Moffitt said, as he sought to counter the online speculation. “We are proposing to lower CO2 emissions and lower everybody’s electricity costs with this project.”
He said even though the project had yet to be presented to government, the group wanted to be transparent about the development. He confirmed the image being distributed on Facebook appeared to be an earlier iteration and was not related to the current proposal.
Denise Powers, CEO of public relations agency Fountainhead, who is working with the developers, said they had been due to present details of the project to the government caucus this month, but the meeting was rescheduled and is expected to take place in December instead. She said the developers planned to make more details of the project public once it had been presented to government officials.
Minister of Commerce and Infrastructure Joey Hew, when asked by the Compass if the government had seen the proposal, said in an emailed response, “The Government have not entered into any formal discussions” on the proposed liquefied natural gas terminal, and added, “Neither the Caucus or the Cabinet have been given a proposal.”
Liquefied natural gas is natural gas, consisting predominantly of methane, that has been cooled to a liquid state for shipping and storage.
The Cayman project involves the delivery of LNG from ship to shore through a marine mooring and land connection, similar to the fuel trans-shipment process at Jackson Point in George Town, as well as the construction of a holding tank in an existing quarry, the developers said.
It would also include the construction of a natural gas pipeline along the road from Breakers to Caribbean Utilities Company in George Town, as well as the expansion of the East-West Arterial between Newlands and Breakers. Extending that road had also been part of an earlier proposal by the developers of Ironwood, a planned Arnold Palmer golf resort near Frank Sound, a project in which Moffitt was a key figure. The golf course project has been on hold since Palmer’s death in 2016.
Moffitt and his Ironwood development company had also worked with Texas-based Navasota Energy in 2017 on a potential fuel trans-shipment project at Breakers, near the site where the LNG terminal is being proposed.
He said the current LNG plan did not fit with the Navasota proposal. “We are going on a piece of [privately-owned] property right near Scott’s Quarry,” he said.
Moffitt said the Breakers-LNG and Eagle LNG had been in contact with the Cayman Islands Department of Environment about the project.
DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie told the Compass via email on Tuesday, “DoE has not been formally consulted on this project. However, a couple of months ago persons connected with the project informally (and confidentially) sought the DoE’s views on an earlier concept of the project.
“We provided our input and also referred them to the Energy and Fuels divisions of OfReg in order to obtain some guidance on how the project may be viewed from their perspective as there are some larger national policy issues that are at play and would need to be considered.”
The rendering being circulated on social media appears to show the port proposal impacting Meagre Bay Pond, but Ebanks-Petrie said, “In relation to the location, the concept level plan that we saw did not involve Meagre Bay Pond (which is already a protected area under the National Conservation Law).”
Moffitt said that Breakers-LNG had spoken to Dart, which owns land in the area, about acquiring property “but they’re not involved in the LNG project”.
Dart, in an emailed statement, confirmed it was not a part of the proposed development.
Cameron Graham, president of development delivery and infrastructure at Dart, said, “As a landowner in the vicinity, Dart is aware of the proposal for a liquid natural gas distribution facility in the Breakers area. We are not involved in the project at this stage.”
Frank Moreno, director of sales and marketing at Eagle LNG, said the project ties in with the government’s National Energy Policy, which refers to the use of “transitional fuels” such as liquefied natural gas for power generation as an alternative to fossil fuels. The NEP aims to have 70% renewable energy in the islands’ energy mix by 2037.
Moreno said, “It is kind of hard to see fossil fuel as a green solution but part of what we envision is being able to offset some of the carbon footprint … it’s a win-win solution that I think people will like once they see the whole plan.”
Last month, Eagle LNG Partners entered into an agreement with the Barbuda Ocean Club in Barbuda to supply natural gas to that island. In a statement, the company’s president Sean Lalani said at the time, “The Barbuda turn-key investment is one of several turn-key solutions Eagle LNG is developing in the Caribbean basin for utility and industrial clients.”
If the Cayman project goes ahead, the gas supply would be brought in on ships from Jacksonville, Florida – a two-to-three-day sail to Grand Cayman.
Moffitt said after the proposal goes before caucus, the companies intend to carry out public consultations over the first six months of next year, followed by an environmental impact assessment.