Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams, planting a Pride of Barbados tree at the ground breaking ceremony for the Barbados Light and Power’s Clean Energy Bridge Project at Trent’s, St. Lucy on Friday. (S. Forde-Craigg/BGIS)

Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams, has given the assurance that there is no shortage of natural gas in Barbados.

Speaking to the media on Friday, after the ground-breaking ceremony for the Barbados Light and Power Ltd.’s Clean Energy Bridge Project at the Solar Photovoltaic Plant, Trents, St. Lucy, Minister Abrahams apologized for the 45-minute natural gas outage, which occurred on Saturday, January 26, and stressed that there is no shortage of natural gas on the island.

He explained that the natural gas outage, which affected businesses on both the west and south coasts of the island, was as a result of a malfunctioning valve at the Belle, St. Michael facility.

Noting that it was unfortunate that the incident occurred at the time that it did (peak time for restaurants), he pointed out that the problem was quickly assessed and rectified. 

He stated: “The management and board of NPC (National Petroleum Corporation) are picking apart exactly what happened.  We can’t stop things from happening, but we can do our best to put preventative measures and redundancies in place so if something does happen the impact would not be felt as significantly.”

Minister Abrahams also said that officials from the NPC had apologized to affected customers, and were carrying out investigations to know what emergency measures could be put in place should there be a recurrence, as they seek to improve their operations.

He added that he was satisfied with the short time in which the matter was addressed, noting that “even the best maintained systems” could experience problems.

“BNOC (Barbados National Oil Company), NPC and all of our energy companies, they pride themselves on the delivery of a safe and efficient service. Yes, they had an outage with the natural gas earlier in January and that was rectified in short order as well. Obviously, it caused disruption and obviously it is something we are taking very seriously because we don’t want a repeat of it.  If one of our customers is unhappy, then we are unhappy. So when you have a situation where you have an outage affecting a number of people that is something we take very seriously,” Minister Abrahams said.

When asked if businesses would be compensated as a result of the outage, he remarked: “We apologized to all of the businesses that were put out and experienced losses as a result of the outage.  I am not trivializing it; I am not minimizing it, and I am not stopping anyone from seeking compensation.  The businesses will do what it is they have to do, and we will deal with that, if and when that happens.”

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