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Geothermal exploration UK funded to begin this week

Rt. Hon Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development

Just prior to the quick signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (May 1, 2012) the local press corps was handed a Government House press release, which informed of the United Kingdom’s green light and assurance of financial support for geothermal exploration.

The Honourable Reuben Meade on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department for International Development (DFID) agreeing to a series of time bound reforms, which require completion to lead to “increased capital investment and technical assistance, funded by the UK.”

The Rt. Hon. Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development and the Rt. Hon. Alan Duncan, Minister of State for International Development announced that the UK government will support the Montserrat’s plan to, “prove the size and potential of Montserrat’s geothermal reserves,” the statement from Government House said.

“The funds will support Phase one of an exploratory well drilling programme over a 12-month period starting May 2012. The funding will cover all necessary site preparation and access works, all drilling, supervision and well testing costs, and the technical assistance required by the GoM to manage and implement this project successfully.

Minister of State for International Development, Rt. Hon. Alan Duncan MP

“If exploration proves successful the wells could be used for production. While there now seems a good chance that the exploration will prove the resource. It is not yet certain that Montserrat will be able to move to the production phase,” the release said.

Following upon the announcement he spoke animatedly about the matter. The Premier Meade said a group presently drilling in Dominica will be on island later this week to assess the potential sites and make a decision on tendering for the project. He added that recent discussions with Guadeloupe officials, who have been supporting geothermal exploration in the region, had expressed willingness to look at ways to assist Montserrat in its undertaking, putting the island in a good position now with UK backing to make geothermal a reality.

“We need to prove the resource and it will be a combination of a test and production well. Depending on the resource coming out, we will them consider what size of plant we will need for Montserrat. Reports have said it will take a two to four megawatt plant” to handle the island’s power needs,” he added.

Once Phase I is completed, the intention is to see if private sector companies would be interested in bidding for the Phase two before seeking additional support from the UK government. However, according to the GoM ministers, this was in the distance, as a determination would have to be made as to the quality and quantity of the resource.

Hon. Charles Kirnon, Minister of Communications & Works said he welcomed the decision by the UK and said they are hoping to meet the 12-month target to assess the island’s geothermal resource.

It has been touted for some time, particularly by CRM (Citizens for the Redevelopment of Montserrat) who decided to take a lead on geothermal to remain in Montserrat ownership, that the overall impact of successful geothermal development in Montserrat would mean significant improvement in energy security, cheaper electricity generation, and reduced dependency on diesel.

The government almost a year, July 25, 2010 after it had taken office had said that geothermal was not on the front burner in their five (5) year development plan. However, in February last year the geothermal development got new life when UK Minister Mitchell promised to look at and support its progress as long as GoM was transparent in its actions.

 

 

Photo: Minister Mitchell

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Rt. Hon Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development

Just prior to the quick signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (May 1, 2012) the local press corps was handed a Government House press release, which informed of the United Kingdom’s green light and assurance of financial support for geothermal exploration.

The Honourable Reuben Meade on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department for International Development (DFID) agreeing to a series of time bound reforms, which require completion to lead to “increased capital investment and technical assistance, funded by the UK.”

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The Rt. Hon. Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development and the Rt. Hon. Alan Duncan, Minister of State for International Development announced that the UK government will support the Montserrat’s plan to, “prove the size and potential of Montserrat’s geothermal reserves,” the statement from Government House said.

“The funds will support Phase one of an exploratory well drilling programme over a 12-month period starting May 2012. The funding will cover all necessary site preparation and access works, all drilling, supervision and well testing costs, and the technical assistance required by the GoM to manage and implement this project successfully.

Minister of State for International Development, Rt. Hon. Alan Duncan MP

“If exploration proves successful the wells could be used for production. While there now seems a good chance that the exploration will prove the resource. It is not yet certain that Montserrat will be able to move to the production phase,” the release said.

Following upon the announcement he spoke animatedly about the matter. The Premier Meade said a group presently drilling in Dominica will be on island later this week to assess the potential sites and make a decision on tendering for the project. He added that recent discussions with Guadeloupe officials, who have been supporting geothermal exploration in the region, had expressed willingness to look at ways to assist Montserrat in its undertaking, putting the island in a good position now with UK backing to make geothermal a reality.

“We need to prove the resource and it will be a combination of a test and production well. Depending on the resource coming out, we will them consider what size of plant we will need for Montserrat. Reports have said it will take a two to four megawatt plant” to handle the island’s power needs,” he added.

Once Phase I is completed, the intention is to see if private sector companies would be interested in bidding for the Phase two before seeking additional support from the UK government. However, according to the GoM ministers, this was in the distance, as a determination would have to be made as to the quality and quantity of the resource.

Hon. Charles Kirnon, Minister of Communications & Works said he welcomed the decision by the UK and said they are hoping to meet the 12-month target to assess the island’s geothermal resource.

It has been touted for some time, particularly by CRM (Citizens for the Redevelopment of Montserrat) who decided to take a lead on geothermal to remain in Montserrat ownership, that the overall impact of successful geothermal development in Montserrat would mean significant improvement in energy security, cheaper electricity generation, and reduced dependency on diesel.

The government almost a year, July 25, 2010 after it had taken office had said that geothermal was not on the front burner in their five (5) year development plan. However, in February last year the geothermal development got new life when UK Minister Mitchell promised to look at and support its progress as long as GoM was transparent in its actions.

 

 

Photo: Minister Mitchell