My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Azurest Cambridge Power failed to provide the Bid Bond and Energy World International sent in to bat for 360MW LNG Power Plant - Energize Jamaica Should be the Rightful No. 2 Bidder

Monday, October 7, 2013

Azurest Cambridge Power failed to provide the Bid Bond and Energy World International sent in to bat for 360MW LNG Power Plant - Energize Jamaica Should be the Rightful No. 2 Bidder

“As with Azurest-Cambridge, conclusion of a formal arrangement with EWI is conditional on the completion of aspects of due diligence on the company and its principals by the Financial Investigation Division (FID) which had been requested to carry out this exercise for all Bidders

Press Release by the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation) on Friday October 4th 2013 on the failure of Azurest Cambridge Power to provide the US$6.9 million Bid Bond

Azurest Cambridge Power has failed to cough up the US$6.9 million Bid Bond that’s 1% for their estimated outlay of US$690 million required to build their 36MW LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) Power Plant”.

This made the front pages of both The Jamaica Gleaner and The Jamaica Observer in the articles “Azurest disqualified, OUR moves to EWI for construction of 360MW plant”, published Friday, October 04, 2013 11:18 AM, The Jamaica Observer and “360MW PROJECT: Azurest misses deadline, OUR offers Energy World International opportunity”, Published Friday October 4, 2013 10:30 am, The Jamaica Gleaner.

As of Friday October 4th 2014, Hong Kong based EWI (Energy World International), the No. 2 preferred Bidder based on the OUR’s (Office of Utilities Regulation) assessment, has fifteen (15) days to procure the US$7.37 million. This amount is 1% of the US$737 million estimated for their LNG Power Plant as noted in my blog article entitled “OUR opens 360MW LNG Power Plant Bids as JPS Co forms Energize Jamaica with 3 of the Bidders - Friday August 9th 2013 is Jamaica's Power Emancipation Day”  that lists all the Bidders.

EWI has until Saturday October 19th 2013 to hand over their Bid Bond or forfeit to No. 3 Bidder Energize Jamaica

EWI has been selected – The Koreans sent in to Bat

According to the articleAzurest says OUR's refusal to extend deadline robs J'cans of best energy solution”, Published Saturday October 5, 2013, by Anastasia Cunningham, News Coordinator, The Jamaica Gleaner, EWI appears to be in a better financial position than Azurest Cambridge Power, who are still argueing for a another fifteen (15) day extension to the process.

Not only can EWI promise a lower rate of US$0.14.56 KWh than Azurest Cambridge Power’s US$0.20 KWh, they can also present their Bid amount by next week in the week of Monday October 7th 2013. They apparently own their own LNG Gas Fields and can source the Gas from their, thereby guaranteeing their Prices. Clearly, Azurest Cambridge Power is out of their league here!

As you may remember from my blog article entitled Azurest Cambridge Power wins the Bid for 360MW Power Plant - Minister Paulwell caught in OCG Corruption Probe”, Azurest Cambridge Power had won the Bid on Thursday, September 19th, 2013 and was given fifteen (15) days to hand over the Bid Bond as explained above. They failed in achieving that as apparently, unbeknownst to me, they were also planning to raise that money as well via solicitation of VC (Venture Capitalists) and Foreign Direct Investors.

In short they had no money, just the idea. Similarly too, based on the assessment of international consultant, Mott MacMcDonald working on behalf of the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation), other Bidders also have good ideas, all LNG based Power Plants but no-one has the cash upfront to start construction of their planned plants.

All this is summarized in the Executive Summary of the Evaluation of the Bids for Base Load Capacity on the OUR’s website, a *.pdf document that the OUR posted on their website and is publicly available to anyone to download and read.

EWI’s illegal Entry – Date isn’t fixed in stone in a Bidding Process

There’s still the argument of whether the EWI is even legally allowed to submit a Bid. Based on the finding of the OCG (Office of the Contractor General) Dirk Harrison, they shouldn’t even be in the Bidding process as they’d been assisted by Minister Phillip Paulwell, Minister of Science, Technology Energy and Mining to submit their Bid after the Bid date had closed on Friday March 15th 2013.

In essence Minister Phillip Paulwell had broken the Contractor General Act as it relates to interfering in a Contractual Bidding process. He’s also accused indirectly of displaying what appeared to be favoritism towards EWI bordering on Political interference in the operations of an independent Government Entity by helping EWI to get their proposal into the Bidding process after it had clearly closed.

But the OUR’s struck back against the OCG, pointing out Bidding date for GOJ contracts isn’t really set in stone. A date is declared but can be changed as the OUR sees fit, something I’ve experience and learned from the Stakeholders Consultation on the 700MHz License for 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) as explained in my blog article entitledStakeholder Consultation Forum on the 700 MHz Spectrum Auction - How the Spectrum Auction process for Band 17 and Band 13 of the 700 Mhz Band Works”, which involves both the SMA (Spectrum Management Authority) and the OUR.

Energize Jamaica should be the Next bidder – JPS Co’s moment of Glee

So we have a bit of a quandary here. If the OCG’s claim is false and the OUR is correct and is free to change conditions of the Contract awarding process as the please, then everything is ok and the Bid Bond application can proceed as planned. If this proves to be true i.e. OCG is correct and the OUR’s misinterpreted the contractor General’s act,, then Minister Phillip Paulwell needs to resign as he’s guilty of political interference and possibly giving preference to one of the Bidders in what should have been an independent and transparent selection process.

It also means that the next Bidder by right should be Energize Jamaica, the JPS Co (Jamaica Public Service Company) backed consortium consisting of JPS Co, Amourview Holdings Limited, Mussons Jamaica Limited and Tank-Weld. Despite their hastily constructed and badly maintained website not mentioning JPS Co explicitly as a partner, it’s most likely an advisor to the company.

JPS Co in fact, may be their main link to the LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) as well as the go-between Negotiator with Wartsila as argued in my blog article entitled “SJPC, the Marubeni, EWP and JPS Co consortium's to begin LNG Plant Construction in Q2 of 2013 - Jamaica's On A Mission towards The Impossible Promised Land” as can be surmised from their website, which indicates they’ve worked with JPS Co before.

The fact that they aren’t is what fuelling the accusations of political interference, as it means that if EWI’s successful, then the Energize Jamaica consortium is being denied the chance to place a successful Bid. After all, if the OURs claim that the Bid date isn’t set in stone, then why would they have to have had Minister Paulwell speak on their behalf to have their Bid submitted when the due date of Friday March 15th 2013 has passed?

According to Minister Paulwell, he was coerced into including EWI by colleagues in the Cabinet as stated in “Azurest still hopeful”, published Saturday, October 05, 2013, The Jamaica Observer, making them also complicit in what may be a bit of a controversy!

Azurest Cambridge Power Controversy – Blockade of Energize Jamaica’s JPS Co

Even stranger too is the fact that Azurest Cambridge Power won in the first place, despite not demonstrating they even had the money to post the Bid Bond and even scoring very low in their assessment based on the Executive Summary of the Evaluation of the Bids for Base Load Capacity on the OUR’s website, yet still being chosen to be the preferred Bidder.

Many suspect this is all really an attempt to prevent JPS Co, the main partner in the Energize Jamaica, from becoming a monopoly. If the entire Bidding process was fair and square, many Jamaican reason, then Energize Jamaica would’ve won a long time ago as argued in the article “Energised - 360MW third-ranked bidder questions OUR's due diligence, claims it has cash ready for bond”, published Monday October 7, 2013, by Livern Barrett and Anastasia Cunningham, The Jamaica Gleaner.

But they can’t because of the additional presence of the EWI and the OUR’s strange decision to put Azurest Cambridge Power, who are less capable of financing such a project as the preferred Bidder. As for Azurest Cambridge, they can still enter the Energy Game as a Alternative Energy Distributed Provider as explained in my Geezam blog article entitled “Blue Mountain Renewables – Wind Energy Contender in a 115MW Alternative Energy Contract dominated by Solar”.

In fifteen (15) days time we’ll know what’ll be out fate, as if EWI, despite all the good we’ve heard about them, fails to provide the Bid Bond, then it’ll mean that JPS Co consortium of Energize Jamaica will get the chance to retain their monopoly on Electricity Generation and Distribution once more.

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