Dominican Republic eyes oil refinery in Guyana


…signs MOUs with Guyana for energy, air and regional cooperation

Stemming from the abundance of opportunities available from the local oil and gas sector, the Dominican Republic is exploring the possibility of collaborating with Guyana for the establishment of a crude oil refinery here.

This was revealed by Dominican Republic President, Luis Abinader, during a one-day visit to Georgetown on Thursday. The visiting Head of State was accompanied by a delegation comprising both government and private sector officials.

Following brief bilateral talks between President Dr Irfaan Ali and President Abinader at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre in Greater Georgetown on Thursday, Senior Ministers from the two regional nations signed three pacts to strengthen collaborations including a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in Energy-related matters.

This MoU seeks to establish a framework to facilitate and enhance bilateral cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector of the two countries based on equality and mutual benefit. It will include the promotion of investments in each other’s countries, as well as technology transfer, research and development, the building of human resources and collaboration in the natural gas sector.

Energy partner

Prior to the signing of the agreement, President Abinader remarked that the Dominican Republic is eager to partner with Guyana in the energy sector.

“Guyana will be the energy partner of the Dominican Republic and will be a destination for all the produce [from Guyana’s oil and gas sector] …In this MoU, we will also look at exploration and exportation of gas, oil and also, if possible, because it will have to be discussed between our countries and private sectors… a refinery – a joint venture here in Guyana,” the Dominican Republic leader stated.

Currently, Guyana has proven reserves of some 11 billion barrels of crude offshore in the ExxonMobil-operated Stabroek Block alone.
The MoU signed by Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat and Dominican Republic Foreign Minister Roberto Álvarez creates the opportunity for support towards financing and construction of a refinery in Guyana.

It was announced that a joint working group will be set up within the next three months to discuss the various arrangements for cooperation in the energy sector and to also oversee the implementation of initiatives agreed to by the two sides.
Only in April, it was reported that the Guyana Government has not yet made a decision on whether it will pursue the construction of an oil refinery in the country, though it had previously indicated that several proposals were received on this.

Nevertheless, President Ali on Thursday used the opportunity to encourage the Dominican Republic Delegation to participate in other areas within Guyana’s oil and gas industry such as the ongoing oil block auction.

At least 14 oil blocks are currently up for tender including 11 in the shallow area and three in deep-sea area. These blocks will range from 1000 to square kilometres (sq. km) to 2000 sq. km but with most of the blocks being approximately 2000 sq. km.

Based on industry feedback, the Guyana Government has extended the deadline for the competitive bidding process from April to July 15, 2023. This was also done to facilitate the advanced pace of modernising the oil and gas regulatory framework.