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Waiting with hope for geothermal

Governor's press conference in session Feb 12, 2014

Governor’s press conference in session Feb 12, 2014

During the course of the geothermal exploration project, the managers of the project and in particular DFID’s Dr. Kato Kimbugwe informed through the media and other sources that a report would be issued by the end of October, 2013.

Drilling had met its problems as reported from time to time but in the end it was completed as scheduled. The report was not forthcoming at the end of October but it was promised by the Christmas time and that turned to mid-January, this year. That turned into uncertainty.

Two days to mid-February at the Governor’s press conference which usually features Governor Davis and Dr. Kimbugwe, the latter reported:  “It was expected that we would have that report by the 15th January however because you know this is an exploration and testing phase, there was some issues with equipment, breakdown of equipment so the tests couldn’t be done down the hole and that equipment may need to be brought in.”

Kimbugwe continued that they were, “…told a week and a half ago that the report would only come out on Friday of this week…” and this was confirmed by the Premier , who claimed “Sometimes I say things under mango tree that are said under influence, other influences…” when he said that the report was expected the said day Friday afternoon (Feb 14) when he was speaking to Warren Cassell on ZJB Radio. “The first report should be in today so we’ll make that public next week,” supporting again Kimbugwe’s announcement, “ The long-term testing of the wells should be in by the end of March.”

Governor Adrian Davis

Governor Adrian Davis

While reporting as above, Kimbugwe also informed, “we will need to get the experts in to explain it and to put it in such a way that can be communicated both by Government of Montserrat locally to the people of Montserrat and on our side to our minister so that he can then understand the outcome of that initial testing phase…”

That testing phase has left many wondering and pondering its outcome, aware that the problems encountered may well cause a report which may not be as favourably productive as everyone had hoped. It was the Premier who joined in accepting,  “geothermal’ to be a more than familiar word to the people of Montserrat, who  although not the first to make the reference, says Geothermal could be a game changer for Montserrat.”

As everyone looks forward to the long awaited report, afraid of a ‘not-so-good’ report, the questions are rolling in, much surrounding the preparation and the equipment deployed for the exploration which did not include ‘directional’ drilling.

Dr. Cato Kimbugwe

Dr. Cato Kimbugwe

Sources involved in the early and planning stages want this question asked: “At one stage Kimbugwe said that he had taken the advice of experts, Allen, Brophy and Capuanau.
In conversations with the latter two it was made clear that directional drilling was an absolute requirement. So, why did ALLEN ignore the request made…?”

The DFID rep was deflecting responsibility for any earlier unfavourable statement regarding geothermal. He said at the press conference: “Mike Allen who leads that unit is an international renowned expert…we got the number one company that has developed most of their wells in Iceland… I take my direction advice from the Geothermal expert and that’s the way we should be doing it, we take the advice from the Geothermal experts.”

The Phases and Governor’s optimism and enthusiasm

DFID’s Kimbugwe while speaking to the issue of the geothermal exploratory report and mentioned that thoughts were already being directed to phase four. I asked for an explanation how we got there and got an explanation about the phases.

Kimbugwe: “… the first phase was your surface testing which we did go way back in 2009 so that was phase one of Geothermal. As a result, that phase then set the ball rolling for the exploration and testing phase which is phase number two.

“After the completion of phase two in order for us to justify further investment, we have to undertake another design and appraisal phase which is what we are calling phase three.”

He then explains the justification for that. “Once you know the outcome of the testing program you know whether you have one, two, three, four, or whatever number of megawatts, you then have to re-run your economic appraisal to see what it is that can be justified in terms of an investment in phase four which is actually installation of the plant and the work that needs to be done on the transmission in getting the power out of the particular area, where it’s being generated  to the power station.”

Governor Davis then offered his own impressions on the development so far. “We’re pretty optimistic and enthusiastic about Geothermal I think from all sides so we’re going to do the work.

He meantime, while calling for matters to be communicated to the public cites that Montserrat has comparative advantages.

“Well we should certainly communicate effectively on this,” he said, “And you of course and the media can help us on that. Maybe we haven’t said as much as we could because of inherent uncertainty and hopefully that uncertainty will soon be dissipated,” citing on the way, with reference to the scarcity of Montserrat being mentioned in connection with geothermal, regionally.

“I’ve always talked about the three big elements of Comparative advantage that Montserrat has as told to me by people who come to settle here or live here…the friendliness and hospitality of the people, low crime rate, the fact that you can drink water from the tap; and I think we will soon be able to add the fourth element, which is, the energy is provided from a renewable source…” he said.

 

 

 

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Governor's press conference in session Feb 12, 2014

Governor’s press conference in session Feb 12, 2014

During the course of the geothermal exploration project, the managers of the project and in particular DFID’s Dr. Kato Kimbugwe informed through the media and other sources that a report would be issued by the end of October, 2013.

Drilling had met its problems as reported from time to time but in the end it was completed as scheduled. The report was not forthcoming at the end of October but it was promised by the Christmas time and that turned to mid-January, this year. That turned into uncertainty.

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Two days to mid-February at the Governor’s press conference which usually features Governor Davis and Dr. Kimbugwe, the latter reported:  “It was expected that we would have that report by the 15th January however because you know this is an exploration and testing phase, there was some issues with equipment, breakdown of equipment so the tests couldn’t be done down the hole and that equipment may need to be brought in.”

Kimbugwe continued that they were, “…told a week and a half ago that the report would only come out on Friday of this week…” and this was confirmed by the Premier , who claimed “Sometimes I say things under mango tree that are said under influence, other influences…” when he said that the report was expected the said day Friday afternoon (Feb 14) when he was speaking to Warren Cassell on ZJB Radio. “The first report should be in today so we’ll make that public next week,” supporting again Kimbugwe’s announcement, “ The long-term testing of the wells should be in by the end of March.”

Governor Adrian Davis

Governor Adrian Davis

While reporting as above, Kimbugwe also informed, “we will need to get the experts in to explain it and to put it in such a way that can be communicated both by Government of Montserrat locally to the people of Montserrat and on our side to our minister so that he can then understand the outcome of that initial testing phase…”

That testing phase has left many wondering and pondering its outcome, aware that the problems encountered may well cause a report which may not be as favourably productive as everyone had hoped. It was the Premier who joined in accepting,  “geothermal’ to be a more than familiar word to the people of Montserrat, who  although not the first to make the reference, says Geothermal could be a game changer for Montserrat.”

As everyone looks forward to the long awaited report, afraid of a ‘not-so-good’ report, the questions are rolling in, much surrounding the preparation and the equipment deployed for the exploration which did not include ‘directional’ drilling.

Dr. Cato Kimbugwe

Dr. Cato Kimbugwe

Sources involved in the early and planning stages want this question asked: “At one stage Kimbugwe said that he had taken the advice of experts, Allen, Brophy and Capuanau.
In conversations with the latter two it was made clear that directional drilling was an absolute requirement. So, why did ALLEN ignore the request made…?”

The DFID rep was deflecting responsibility for any earlier unfavourable statement regarding geothermal. He said at the press conference: “Mike Allen who leads that unit is an international renowned expert…we got the number one company that has developed most of their wells in Iceland… I take my direction advice from the Geothermal expert and that’s the way we should be doing it, we take the advice from the Geothermal experts.”

The Phases and Governor’s optimism and enthusiasm

DFID’s Kimbugwe while speaking to the issue of the geothermal exploratory report and mentioned that thoughts were already being directed to phase four. I asked for an explanation how we got there and got an explanation about the phases.

Kimbugwe: “… the first phase was your surface testing which we did go way back in 2009 so that was phase one of Geothermal. As a result, that phase then set the ball rolling for the exploration and testing phase which is phase number two.

“After the completion of phase two in order for us to justify further investment, we have to undertake another design and appraisal phase which is what we are calling phase three.”

He then explains the justification for that. “Once you know the outcome of the testing program you know whether you have one, two, three, four, or whatever number of megawatts, you then have to re-run your economic appraisal to see what it is that can be justified in terms of an investment in phase four which is actually installation of the plant and the work that needs to be done on the transmission in getting the power out of the particular area, where it’s being generated  to the power station.”

Governor Davis then offered his own impressions on the development so far. “We’re pretty optimistic and enthusiastic about Geothermal I think from all sides so we’re going to do the work.

He meantime, while calling for matters to be communicated to the public cites that Montserrat has comparative advantages.

“Well we should certainly communicate effectively on this,” he said, “And you of course and the media can help us on that. Maybe we haven’t said as much as we could because of inherent uncertainty and hopefully that uncertainty will soon be dissipated,” citing on the way, with reference to the scarcity of Montserrat being mentioned in connection with geothermal, regionally.

“I’ve always talked about the three big elements of Comparative advantage that Montserrat has as told to me by people who come to settle here or live here…the friendliness and hospitality of the people, low crime rate, the fact that you can drink water from the tap; and I think we will soon be able to add the fourth element, which is, the energy is provided from a renewable source…” he said.