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AFC leader’s Ramjattan: Award of US$900M contract for gas plant to Texas firm ‘stinks to the high heavens’ – Kaieteur News

The Alliance For Change (AFC) calls on Gov’t. to prove company’s ability to complete project

President Irfaan Ali last week made the disclosure that Houston-based LINDSAYCA, in a joint venture with CH4 Guyana, has been selected to forge ahead with negotiations to build the almost US$1 billion natural gas-fired electricity plant and natural gas liquids plant in Guyana.

Kaieteur News

EnergiesNet.com 11 21 2022

The Alliance For Change (AFC) wants the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government to prove the competence of a company it has selected to construct a US$900 million gas plant at Wales, to generate some 300 megawatts of electricity, as research into that firm’s history remains sketchy.

Lindsayca Inc. in joint venture with CH4 Inc. that submitted the highest bid to the tune of US$898,764,244 for the project was declared the best candidate by President Irfaan Ali, who in a statement last week also pointed out that key considerations in the evaluation process took into account the expected 2024 delivery date for the power plant.

AFC Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan

However, research conducted by the political group has led to the discovery of a number of red flags. During a Press Conference yesterday, the AFC’s newly appointed Member of Parliament, Beverly Alert, shared the disclaimer that the political group is not accusing the company of any wrongs, but is simply requesting more information regarding its ability to pull off such a massive venture.

She explained, “Our research shows that Lindsayca out of Texas, have been established I think since 1995. They are a family-owned company owned by Hectar Jose Fuentes. What we found is within the last 17 years, Hectar had established some five companies but only two seem active. We don’t know what happened to the rest and Linsayca seems to have an annual turnover of about US$10 million or a revenue stream of about $10 million per annum.”

This newspaper was able to confirm that Lindsayca is headquartered in Texas and indeed founded since 1995. Corporationwiki, an online website also said “Hector Fuentes (President of Linsayca Inc.) has been associated with five companies, according to public records. The companies were formed over a thirteen year period with the most recent being incorporated five years ago in February of 2017. Two of the companies are still active while the remaining three are now listed as inactive.”

To this end, the Opposition MP reasoned that the gas plant is pegged at approximately US$1 billion while, “we are concerned because we don’t see, we have no evidence that this company has been working in this sector with projects of this capacity.” She continued, “We want to hear about the experience of this company because the last thing we want or any Guyanese would want, is for this contract to be awarded to a company and then within a short while before the plant is built, you hear that this company is experiencing financial problems, they are probably filing for bankruptcy- they are going under.”

Alert told members of the press corps that while the AFC supports the use of gas to provide cheaper electricity, it is concerned that the ‘astronomical cost’ of the project, coupled with a company’s unproven track record could earn the country another white elephant project.

Independent research done by this newspaper was also unsuccessful in locating completed projects by this company. In fact, Lindsayca Inc. posted about nine projects on its website, reportedly completed in countries such as Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina and in Texas, however, when these were searched via Google there were no trace or history of this. Alert who had similar findings during her examination of the company, insisted that the Government must prove the company’s track record, and capability to perform such a project so that the country would have confidence.

AFC MP, Beverly Alert

In fact she believes, “Which ever company that is going to be constructing that plant, whether it is Lindsayca or they (Government) later go on to some other company for whatever reason, provide this nation with enough information that we can track the experience of this company, we can see that this company has been doing projects of this magnitude successfully and build the confidence of the nation.”

Meanwhile, Leader of the AFC, Khemraj Ramjattan, questioned whether the company will indeed be able to deliver the project on time. He said, “Remember the history of the PPP. The Fip Motilall, did they deliver? Surrendra Engineering did they deliver?”

Ramjattan argued that the PPP’s history of executing large contracts, along with the company’s unproven track record of completing such a project allows for the conclusion that “this thing stinks to high heavens.”

In September 2022, Kaieteur News had reported that five international firms had submitted bids for the construction of the power plant. The companies’ bids are as follow: Guycan Consortium – US$549,088,000, China Energy Int’l Group Co. Limited – US$466,649,772, China Machinery Engineering Inc. – US$696,001,776, Power China Int’l Group Limited – US$703,652,256, and Lindsayca Inc. in joint venture with CH4 Inc. – US$898,764,244.

According to CH4 Group website, the company is based in Puerto Rico but has an established presence in several other countries – while Lindsayca is a company based in Texas, United States of America (USA).

Lindsayca said it has over 1,000 employees, 180 clients and have worked in 10 countries, completing 118 EPC projects.

President Ali explained that Cabinet’s no-objection will now allow negotiations to proceed to conclude an EPC contract. He noted too that Power China, the second highest bidder, was ranked number two and may be engaged if negotiations fail to conclude a contract with the joint-venture by the end of November.

“Contract negotiations will now start with the expectation that a contract will be executed before the end of November.”

During a recent Press Conference, Vice President Jagdeo had revealed that the Government had hired two international firms, Stantec from Canada and Whirley from the United Kingdom (UK) to evaluate the bids received from the contractors for the construction of the power plant and the NGL facility. He stated that the decision was made by the Government to hire the two firms to evaluate the technical aspect of the bid due to the fact that the Government does not have the expertise to do so.

Notably, during President Ali’s announcement last Thursday, he revealed that based on the reports that were submitted by the two firms – an evaluation team of three people which included a representative of Exxon – unanimously ranked CH4/Lindsayca as number one, and Power China as number two to construct the NGL facility and power plant.

The Wales Gas-to-Energy (GTE) project will encompass three major aspects, they are, the pipeline to transport the gas to Wales, the NGL facility that will treat and separate the gas, and the power plant to generate the electricity. Notably, so far, Guyanese have been told that the pipeline aspect, which is being pursued by US oil major, ExxonMobil, will cost around US$1.3 billion and Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, was hopeful that the Government’s aspect would cost around US$700M.

kaieteurnewsonlines.com 11 19 2022

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