MAJURO Marshall Islands — On Jan. 26 the island of Ebeye in the Marshall Islands experienced a power outage as a result of ExxonMobil’s decision to discontinue service to the island effective Jan. 7. Mobil provided fuel to Ebeye for about 20 years. While the island’s power supply was reconnected Jan. 19 Ebeye still faces a possible impending power crisis.
The Ebeye power plant used the last of its fuel resource Jan. 24. Attempts of a fuel delivery from surrounding islands were prevented by weather conditions and mechanical issues from arriving in time to keep power. Ebeye will continue to receive fuel from neighboring island Majuro under the Marshalls Energy Co. but is now forced to make a decision regarding the future management of operations.
“Mobil Oil Micronesia Inc. constantly reviews its businesses to ensure that they are operating in the most efficient and effective way in a changing competitive environment. Recent developments in the Marshall Islands have triggered a review of our operations there ” Cecil B. Suda public relations manager for Mobil in Guam; said. “In Ebeye and Jaluit it is no longer commercially viable for Mobil to maintain fuel supply operations due to a need to invest at Ebeye with no long-term tenure for land lease limited commercial opportunities due to market size significant changes in shipping costs and the impact on operating costs in RMI [Republic of the Marshall Islands] with the loss of MEC volumes. Mobil’s inability to secure a long-term lease in Ebeye limits Mobil in making the required investments to meet ExxonMobil operating standards.”
Mobil expressed a willingness to sell the facilities to the RMI government or a third party to allow services to continue for the island and has stated that if unable to reach an agreement the company will demolish the facilities. MBJ