It’ all quiet on the Oban Energies front!
The proposed oil refinery and storage project, earmarked for East Grant Bahama appears to be on go-slow or perhaps halted. We are of the view that the Government of The Bahamas rushed to the Heads of Agreement and got into all sorts of problems, as a result.
There was the odd signing by one Peter Kreiger of the HOA, at an official ceremony in New Providence, reportedly not his own name, but that of Satpal Dhunna. For a while, Dhunna was the mystery man. He finally surfaced when he paid a courtesy call on the Freeport News’ General Manager.
Subsequently, Dhunna made himself available at a town meeting in the settlement of High Rock, in the east. Several weeks followed with Oban very much in the spotlight. No Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was done prior to the signing of the HOA and the critics came out in abundance.
Public outrage and verbal attacks by environmental organizations caused the government to appoint a committee to go back to the table with Oban Energies LLC, Dhunna and associates.
There is supposed to be an office of Oban, operating in the Lucayan area of Freeport. However it is as if Oban disappeared over the last months or so. What looked like a positive move, jointly between the government and Oban, towards resolving certain issues, has faded badly.
There have been no updates.
The EIA, we understand, is far from completion.
In talking at random with residents of East Grand Bahama, they report seeing no Oban presence.
Is the project being aborted?
By signing the HOA, the government is bound by the terms. However, some of what the government agreed to on behalf of the Bahamian People have not been well received at all. For a short period, Oban was building support in Grand Bahama. At the town meeting, residents of East Grand Bahama openly expressed support and asked others (non-residents of East Grand Bahama) to back off. However, even those staunch supporters of a major development in the area have been left in doubt. The Freeport News has led the way in highlighting Oban matters here in Grand Bahama.
We have requested updates.
Sadly, no new information has been forthcoming.
Of course, with so much other national news, the 2018-2019 national budget, the GIBC Digital success, the update on the old Ginn project in West Grand Bahama, the public’s attention has not been on Oban.
No doubt, those in government preferred such a scenario. However, as the Fourth Estate, it is incumbent of us here at The Freeport News to keep all of the national issues at surface level.
So, the time has come for a substantive update to be given, on Oban Energies, regarding the proposed oil refinery and storage plant. We know that the Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama has a full plate. He, the Minister of Finance and the Deputy Prime Minister are one in the same.
Nevertheless, K. Peter Turnquest was not forced into his crowded portfolio. He must multi-task and see to it that the people get an update on Oban. At this point, just a statement from Oban will not cut the mustard.
The people of The Bahamas in general and Grand Bahama in particular, need to hear from the government on the Oban issue.
What’s the process on the EIA and other aspects of the stated $5.5 billion projection for the investment?
An Oban update is in order.