SPU’s Heath-London appointed Chairman of Skeldon Energy Inc

– former Chairman retained as Board Member

Special Purpose Unit (SPU) Head Colvin Heath-London has now been appointed Chairman of the Skeldon Energy Incorporated (SEI), replacing former Chairman Dr Lloyd Rose, who has now been bumped down to an ordinary Board Member.
This is according to a notice published in the Guyana gazette. According to the notice, the appointment was made after a memorandum was submitted by Finance Minister Winston Jordan.
The appointment retroactively takes effect from January 1, 2019 until December 31, 2019. It would not be the first time Heath-London has been announced as Chairman of a sugar-related board.
Last year, a Cabinet sub-committee decided to appoint him as Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) Chairman and a full-page advertisement to this effect was published, only for Government to later backtrack and appoint someone else, agriculturist John Dow.
Besides Heath-London and Rose, a representative from the Guyana Power and Light (GPL); the trade union movement and the Regional Executive Officer for Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) will also be appointed to serve on the board.
SEI is a special purpose company owned by the Government’s holding company, the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), and the GPL. Its Co-generation Plant was purchased from GuySuCo for approximately US$30 million.
In June 2017, the Co-gen Plant was described as a ‘ticking time bomb’ that required US$2.5 million to restart the 30MW bagasse-fuelled component of the facility, and an additional US$17 million in order to fix other deficiencies.
Junior Finance Minister Jaipaul Sharma had taken members of the media on a tour of the facility in June 2017. Minister Sharma had said he would be recommending to the Cabinet Council of Ministers a full forensic investigation into the facility.
During a guided tour of the boilers, it was observed that the piping used to circulate the pressurised steam has eroded to a point where it had become a safety hazard and risked an explosion.
Speaking to the design of the facility, it was pointed out, too, that the boilers were not even protected from the elements, including the salt air. There is no roof in place.
Other visible deficiencies on the boiler were evident at the furnace doors, where the insulation was almost completely burnt out as a result of the heat.
Last year, then Chairman of SEI, Lloyd Rose, had said efforts are being made to have the Co-gen Plant operate year-round, and not seasonally. As such, fuel will be needed for the plant all year round. This means that bagasse alone cannot be used.
In April of 2018, SEI completed a test utilising firewood chips sourced from within the community. The test revealed a smooth boiler operation.
Rose had said that the test revealed a much more stable and smoother boiler operation than that achieved using bagasse fuel, which often contains much higher moisture content.
The successful utilisation of other biomass fuel — firewood processed into wood chips — with its significantly less moisture content (40 per cent), would likely have provided much greater ease of operation for the fuel feed system.
There was the absence of frequent blocking of pin-hole grate air-ports normally associated with mud-content embedded in the sugar cane delivered to the factory and the bagasse delivered to boilers.
At present, Skeldon is one of three estates Government is seeking private buyers for; the other two being Rose Hall and Enmore. However, it is Rose Hall that has attracted the most interest, with NICIL announcing during a recent press conference that a deal for Rose Hall could be on the table by next month.