Categorized | Local, News

Push to reach Geothermal resource

by Bennette Roach

Capped Well #1

Capped Well #1

Premier Reuben T. Meade and the UK Department for International Development (DFID)refer to the sourcing and development of geothermal as a ‘game changer’ for Montserrat, and everyone agrees. As of today, this UK funded game changer exercise is creating much nervousness among those who agree and believe that geothermal energy production will be one of the front-runners to the progress of economic recovery to Montserrat, featuring in the current Strategic Growth Plan (SGP).

Something has gone wrong and it has become exceedingly difficult to obtain information as the setbacks which have developed with accessing the resource.

Reportedly going back, Geothermal energy has been on the cards in Montserrat since 30 years ago.

On  March 3, 2006, an urgent march on the Ministry of Communications and Works, successfully protested Minister John Wilson against government’s immediate intention of signing over geothermal research and production to the West Indies Power company, headed by Kerry McDonald. This company has been involved in geothermal development projects on St Kitts and Nevis, Saba, Dominica and other Caribbean islands. However, reported failures show the position taken by the still active members of the Committee for the Redevelopment of Montserrat (CRM), has proven right.

Minister of State Andrew Mitchel in February, 2011 after telling Montserrat, to stand on their own two feet, that  “It would be the wrong approach to be like a new born bird waiting in the nest for the mother bird to bring nourishment,” had said that geothermal was worth pursuing.

Hinting support, Mitchel had said: “there is a huge opportunity here the opportunity from Geothermal …these opportunities should be grasped and we should build on this very strong commitment from Britain to help…”

Mitchel had warned about what is noted today is an issue with the stall in the exploration. “The exploitation of geothermal power, it is very important that the principles of transparency apply throughout the process…” he had said.

Following that Governor Adrian Davis in the early days of positive talk said it should not take long, for Montserrat to access the necessary funding from the UK to carry out the search for the resource. The Premier then said the Governor was talking out of turn, but later confirmed that Montserrat had indeed made an application to DFID. The Premier had sometime before shown his disinterest in pursuing geothermal energy, when he declared that had not been included in his five-year development plan.

He was later to change his position while DFID’s country head Karen McGeough and local representative Cato Kimbugwe confirmed the UK’s geothermal position in a press conference:  “…geothermal could be  significant game changer for economic development on the island so we think that, that’s an important area to spent some sort of money to provide government of Montserrat with the relevant expertise..” they said.

The Government Opposition in the Legislative Assembly had shown some exasperation, asking the question in the House in Dec 2011, why not “fast-track” the boring the hole to prove our geothermal potential?

With that brief background, DFID provided the necessary funding and following the directive to GoM to install a ‘Geothermal Unit’  by June last year, the project funded by a sum of £8.5 million (approximately $38.25 million, or US$14.16).

There were quiet protests as to the procurement of the rig as we have alluded in previous reports. It is turning out that this has in fact created some problems, as since drilling had been reportedly completed there has not been any conclusive positive report that the resource is surfacing.

The silence of reports and information has become evident, as it now appears reasonably conclusive that the drilling equipment has been incapable of drilling deep enough to make direct contact with the resource. All reports suggest that the drilling was carried out in the ‘right’ areas.

As a result of complaints to TMR that we have reported from un-authoritative sources, prior to or as of July 29, following official directives we have sought to find out the accuracy of whether the Geothermal Unit has been installed and that the Steering Committee has been functioning. Up to today, we had not been able to get responses to our questions as promised on July 28 by the Ministry of Coms and Works. On July 28, 2013, I was informed thus: “I will pass on the request to the persons within the project and will ensure you have a response early this week.” This has not been forthcoming following repeated reminders.

New Ministry of Coms and Works headquarters

New Ministry of Coms and Works headquarters

We know that there have been several meetings taking place during the silence period and difficulty to get calls answered or returned. The hope during this time is that the reality had set in that the project had encountered difficulties.

Today we received confirmation, that equipment had arrived on island to continue the drilling process, albeit not directly official, since the ‘run-around’ finding the appropriate person to speak continued.

Just before going to press, we were able to confirm from the person now designated from the Steering Committee to speak on updates of the project. He said that the equipment is to enable drilling to go down a further depth of about seven hundred (700) meters. However, he added that there is a further delay as the current drilling rig will also need some parts to carry out the problem.

This official confirmed that all the testing carried out since the completion of Well #1, efforts to bring the resource to the surface showed that the condition is right and that the resource is there. Bringing it to the surface has turned out not to be as simple as it appeared.

ENDS

PHOTOS AS APPropriate

But the Chief Minister in his press conference was critical of Governor Adrian Davis’ optimism that the money was forthcoming within a short time to proceed with exploration of the geothermal potential in the southern excluded areas of Montserrat. The Governor, in his second press conference since his arrival on Montserrat, following two town hall meetings in Salem and Lookout, pronounced that monies could be available through Climate Change initiatives in Britain, should DFID pursue the avenues.

Beverley Mendes: July 28 – I will pass on the request to the persons within the project and will ensure you have a response early this week.

BR wrote: who make up the Geothermal Unit.?

when I quote the Director I get a rebuke suggesting he is not speaking with authority.

is the contact for Mike Allen, Paul Brophy or even the Director, and first from you to confirm

West Indies Power (WIP) is an independent power producer specializing in the development of geothermal energy in the Caribbean with geothermal development projects on St Kitts and Nevis, Saba and other Caribbean islands.

The Secretary of State Mitchel hinted the support providing as he said: “there is a huge opportunity here the opportunity from Geothermal …these opportunities should be grasped and we should build on this very strong commitment from Britain to help…”

 

Leave a Reply

TMR print pages

Newsletter

Archives

https://indd.adobe.com/embed/2b4deb22-cf03-4509-9bbd-938c7e8ecc7d

A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by Bennette Roach

Capped Well #1

Capped Well #1

Premier Reuben T. Meade and the UK Department for International Development (DFID)refer to the sourcing and development of geothermal as a ‘game changer’ for Montserrat, and everyone agrees. As of today, this UK funded game changer exercise is creating much nervousness among those who agree and believe that geothermal energy production will be one of the front-runners to the progress of economic recovery to Montserrat, featuring in the current Strategic Growth Plan (SGP).

Insert Ads Here

Something has gone wrong and it has become exceedingly difficult to obtain information as the setbacks which have developed with accessing the resource.

Reportedly going back, Geothermal energy has been on the cards in Montserrat since 30 years ago.

On  March 3, 2006, an urgent march on the Ministry of Communications and Works, successfully protested Minister John Wilson against government’s immediate intention of signing over geothermal research and production to the West Indies Power company, headed by Kerry McDonald. This company has been involved in geothermal development projects on St Kitts and Nevis, Saba, Dominica and other Caribbean islands. However, reported failures show the position taken by the still active members of the Committee for the Redevelopment of Montserrat (CRM), has proven right.

Minister of State Andrew Mitchel in February, 2011 after telling Montserrat, to stand on their own two feet, that  “It would be the wrong approach to be like a new born bird waiting in the nest for the mother bird to bring nourishment,” had said that geothermal was worth pursuing.

Hinting support, Mitchel had said: “there is a huge opportunity here the opportunity from Geothermal …these opportunities should be grasped and we should build on this very strong commitment from Britain to help…”

Mitchel had warned about what is noted today is an issue with the stall in the exploration. “The exploitation of geothermal power, it is very important that the principles of transparency apply throughout the process…” he had said.

Following that Governor Adrian Davis in the early days of positive talk said it should not take long, for Montserrat to access the necessary funding from the UK to carry out the search for the resource. The Premier then said the Governor was talking out of turn, but later confirmed that Montserrat had indeed made an application to DFID. The Premier had sometime before shown his disinterest in pursuing geothermal energy, when he declared that had not been included in his five-year development plan.

He was later to change his position while DFID’s country head Karen McGeough and local representative Cato Kimbugwe confirmed the UK’s geothermal position in a press conference:  “…geothermal could be  significant game changer for economic development on the island so we think that, that’s an important area to spent some sort of money to provide government of Montserrat with the relevant expertise..” they said.

The Government Opposition in the Legislative Assembly had shown some exasperation, asking the question in the House in Dec 2011, why not “fast-track” the boring the hole to prove our geothermal potential?

With that brief background, DFID provided the necessary funding and following the directive to GoM to install a ‘Geothermal Unit’  by June last year, the project funded by a sum of £8.5 million (approximately $38.25 million, or US$14.16).

There were quiet protests as to the procurement of the rig as we have alluded in previous reports. It is turning out that this has in fact created some problems, as since drilling had been reportedly completed there has not been any conclusive positive report that the resource is surfacing.

The silence of reports and information has become evident, as it now appears reasonably conclusive that the drilling equipment has been incapable of drilling deep enough to make direct contact with the resource. All reports suggest that the drilling was carried out in the ‘right’ areas.

As a result of complaints to TMR that we have reported from un-authoritative sources, prior to or as of July 29, following official directives we have sought to find out the accuracy of whether the Geothermal Unit has been installed and that the Steering Committee has been functioning. Up to today, we had not been able to get responses to our questions as promised on July 28 by the Ministry of Coms and Works. On July 28, 2013, I was informed thus: “I will pass on the request to the persons within the project and will ensure you have a response early this week.” This has not been forthcoming following repeated reminders.

New Ministry of Coms and Works headquarters

New Ministry of Coms and Works headquarters

We know that there have been several meetings taking place during the silence period and difficulty to get calls answered or returned. The hope during this time is that the reality had set in that the project had encountered difficulties.

Today we received confirmation, that equipment had arrived on island to continue the drilling process, albeit not directly official, since the ‘run-around’ finding the appropriate person to speak continued.

Just before going to press, we were able to confirm from the person now designated from the Steering Committee to speak on updates of the project. He said that the equipment is to enable drilling to go down a further depth of about seven hundred (700) meters. However, he added that there is a further delay as the current drilling rig will also need some parts to carry out the problem.

This official confirmed that all the testing carried out since the completion of Well #1, efforts to bring the resource to the surface showed that the condition is right and that the resource is there. Bringing it to the surface has turned out not to be as simple as it appeared.

ENDS

PHOTOS AS APPropriate

But the Chief Minister in his press conference was critical of Governor Adrian Davis’ optimism that the money was forthcoming within a short time to proceed with exploration of the geothermal potential in the southern excluded areas of Montserrat. The Governor, in his second press conference since his arrival on Montserrat, following two town hall meetings in Salem and Lookout, pronounced that monies could be available through Climate Change initiatives in Britain, should DFID pursue the avenues.

Beverley Mendes: July 28 – I will pass on the request to the persons within the project and will ensure you have a response early this week.

BR wrote: who make up the Geothermal Unit.?

when I quote the Director I get a rebuke suggesting he is not speaking with authority.

is the contact for Mike Allen, Paul Brophy or even the Director, and first from you to confirm

West Indies Power (WIP) is an independent power producer specializing in the development of geothermal energy in the Caribbean with geothermal development projects on St Kitts and Nevis, Saba and other Caribbean islands.

The Secretary of State Mitchel hinted the support providing as he said: “there is a huge opportunity here the opportunity from Geothermal …these opportunities should be grasped and we should build on this very strong commitment from Britain to help…”