Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, President Dr Irfaan Ali told Guyana Defence Force (GDF) on Wednesday that it is responsible for safeguarding the US$30 billion investment in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The Head of State was at the time addressing the opening of the GDF’s Annual Officers Conference where he underscored the significance of that multibillion dollar investment.
“There’s over US$30 billion dollars in…investment in the EEZ, we must safeguard this investment. This is responsible for generating significant revenues for the economic and social transformation of the country,” the President explained.
EEZ is referred to an area of the sea in which a sovereign State has special rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources, including energy production from water and wind.
In Guyana’s case, the country began producing oil offshore in the Stabroek Block in 2019, with ExxonMobil as the main operator.
The oil rich Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometres). ExxonMobil, through its local subsidiary Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), holds 45 per cent interest in the Block. Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd holds 30 per cent interest, and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited, holds the remaining 25 per cent interest.
Currently, the Liza phase 1 and phase 2 developments in the Stabroek Block are operating at a combined gross production capacity of more than 360,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) using the Liza Destiny and Liza Unity floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels, respectively.
The third development in the Stabroek Block – Payara – is on track to come online by the end of 2023 with a gross production capacity of approximately 220,000 bpd. While this may be the gross production capacity, it is expected that the start-up will see a much smaller number of oil barrels being produced. For instance, when the Liza Phase two started in 2022, it was producing significantly less than its current production.
Meanwhile the Yellowtail – the fourth development – is slated for 2025 with a production capacity of some 250,000 bpd. Both these development projects have been approved by the Guyana Government.
Uaru is the fifth development and is expected to come online at the end of 2026 with a gross production capacity of approximately 250,000 bpd with first oil anticipated at the end of 2026. The development plan for Uaru was submitted for Government approval in November 2022 and final approval is expected by the end of the first quarter of this year.
ExxonMobil has said it anticipates at least six projects offshore Guyana will be online by 2027.
Guyana has also opened an auction for 14 oil blocks offshore.
Meanwhile, President Ali also highlighted some of the government’s plans to modernise the GDF’s air corp. and coast guard resources – which will aid in the army protecting the country’s resources.
“Over the long term, we’re looking to develop a modern air corp. and coast guard. Our air corp. and coast guard are critical aspects of our national security architecture and advancement of our Defence Force.”
He reminded that over the past three years, the government has invested significantly into the GDF, including enhancing the Force’s fleet of vessels, vehicles, and aircraft, and improving its technological capabilities through the acquisition of equipment and supplies.
“We’re keen to have a more nimble, adaptable [and] technologically savvy Defence Force,” Ali remarked.
“The Force’s readiness is being enhanced to allow it to better respond to incursions and invasions and to protect the country’s natural and national assets and territorial integrity. We have to and we are investing in the right technology to support your work, [and] the right pieces of equipment to support your work,” he told the ranks.
The GDF, the Head of State assured, could look forward to continued capital investment to help better protect the nation.