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Falklands : PUBLIC MEETING MONDAY, 19 AUGUST 2013
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 24.08.2013 (Article Archived on 21.09.2013)

A public meeting was held in the Court and Assembly Chamber of the town Hall at 1700hrs on Monday, 19 August 2013. Present were MLAs Edwards, Sawle, Hansen (Chair), Halford and Short. The session began with a question from Tim Miller.

PUBLIC MEETING MONDAY, 19 AUGUST 2013

Part 1 Port Operations and Development

The Question and Written Answer Plus Some Debate

 

By J. Brock (FINN)

 

A public meeting was held in the Court and Assembly Chamber of the town Hall at 1700hrs on Monday, 19 August 2013.  Present were MLAs Edwards, Sawle, Hansen (Chair), Halford and Short.  The session began with a question from Tim Miller.

 

Why is it that there is so much secrecy about temporary port operations boat extension plans in Stanley Harbour?  Why are there no outline planning applications?  We have been told that one company has had its plans for a temporary facility refused but those of us who live around here have no idea where it was to be nor on what grounds it was refused?  Another company has had their outline approved.  Where and what is it that is proposed?  How can any company be expected to take the Falklands seriously if they are told whatever you do has to be removed after 3 years even if there is no permanent port built by then and therefore no port being used?  Is there not a chance that oil companies could simply go away saying it is not feasible at the moment and come back in 5, 10, 15 years as they tend to do elsewhere in the world so they will just pay the annual rentals etc. and/or simply charter their own very large cargo vessel moored in a false harbour and use their own dockside for incoming freight and transhipping out to the rigs?  And this of course would rule out any local involvement and business employment in the hydrocarbons industry?

 

The written answer is as follows:

 

Executive Council at its meeting in July responded to two proposals the Falkland Island(s’) Government had received from oil companies to site temporary jetty facilities in Stanley harbour.  The paper has not been released to the public because it contains the detailed negotiations that are ongoing between those companies and FIG.

 

A proposal from Noble Energy and its partners received in principle approval to go ahead.  But this is subject to further negotiation on a number of issues.  And one of those issues is that EXCO has requested as part of their progress that Noble undertake public consultation to explain what they are proposing, where and over what time frame.  I think we envisage this as sometime in November.  All the required planning and environmental processes are also required to be undertaken.  Also at this meeting a proposal from Premier Oil was rejected because it did not meet the acceptance criteria required by members for a temporary port facility in Stanley.

 

The Falkland Island(s’) Government has spent a great deal of time with oil companies over the last year negotiating with them over their plans and time-scales alongside our own ambitions for the future of Stanley, our desire to protect the quality of life of people living in and around the town and our future infrastructure needs we have identified for the Islands, including a new port planned for Port William.

 

EXCO does not believe the long-term presence of oil and gas in and around Stanley Harbour is in the best interests of the community – our concern being the impact of a 24-hour day all year round over several years and what impact that industry would have on people living in the town.

 

That said, though, we have made it clear we are willing to negotiate and the statement of policy principles produced by EXCO is part of that negotiation process. 

 

Given the fact that negotiation is on-going, it is difficult to go into detail too much publically at this time.  However, (the) Falkland Island(s’) Government firmly believes we can work with oil companies to enable further exploration is safe alongside the planned exploitation of the Sea Lion Oilfield.

 

One of our prime considerations is to enable the oil and gas industry to continue to develop, which is in the interest of all concerned.  But in doing so we must ensure that any development including temporary jetties, etc. do not create long-term or permanent harm to our community and society.

 

Sharon Halford added that in a way, this question was a little misleading in that it suggests that outline (planning) approval has been approved for one company and the other has been refused.  Outline would be for the Planning and Building Committee and they have not received any outline or other applications in respect of any temporary facility or permanent facilities for that matter.

 

Tim Miller asked what was planned for after – assuming the jetty is built for three years.  He wondered about any time lapse between that 3 years and the time a permanent jetty is actually built.  He felt it could not realistically be built in 3 years.

 

Dick Sawle said it depended on the planned oil development and if no oil were found Noble Energy wouldn’t stay.  That’s why a temporary facility would be in place first.  Oil development, he continued, could take from 6 to 11 years or longer.

 

Tim Miller felt that with Premier Oil the longer development period would be potentially under discussion.

 

Dick Sawle said that premier Oil’s plan for a temporary facility in Stanley harbour did not meet the criteria that was published.  He went on to say that when MLAs met with Premier Oil in London they were very clear about this.  Simon Fletcher and Dick Sawle were at the meeting with all oil companies and it was made clear to them what would be acceptable and what would not.

 

A development of a port facility in Port William depends on a completely different set of circumstances.  FIG is not prepared to take the full cost of that development from its reserves.  A business case must be worked up that will allow private investment in the port.  It is presently being worked on and results are expected back in due course – around November.  When this is received it will be up to the private sector to invest in it.

 

Tim Miller continues to comment in part 2. 

(100X Transcription Service)

 

This article is the Property and Copyright of Falkland Islands News Network.

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