Govt engaging int’l experts on Payara project

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The new Administration is engaging international experts before it makes a decision on the Payara-Pacora project in the Stabroek Block, a project which was announced since 2017 but for which oil giant ExxonMobil is yet to make a Final Investment Decision (FID).

President Dr Irfaan Ali made this disclosure on Tuesday, on the sidelines of an event at Crane, West Coast Demerara, to celebrate Krishna Janmashtami. He explained that since coming to office, he has made steps to review all sectors including the oil sector.

“We’re in Government just over a week now. And I’ve asked for a full assessment of all the sectors, not just the oil and gas sector. So, we’ll be receiving documents on all the sectors, including having information and documents on the work that has been done so far in terms of the license for the Payara project,” Ali said. He added that throughout the elections campaign he had made it pellucid that a review will take place in several sectors.

“I’ve been following what is happening from the media. A lot of questions, a lot of focus on the oil and gas sector. Specifically, in relation to the Payara license, I have convened a meeting with various stakeholders and I’ve made it very clear that we’ll have a review of all that has been done so far,” Dr Ali said.

According to the President, the services of Trinidadian energy expert Anthony Paul, who has been particularly vocal on local content issues, have been sought by his Government.
As such, President Ali disclosed that Jagdeo has been tasked with contacting Paul and determining his availability and whether he is willing to work with the Government.

“We’re in the process of engaging an international expert to do that review, what has been done so far. And the Vice President will be able to elaborate on that (today),” Ali said, in reference to a press conference scheduled to be hosted by Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo today.

“And then the whole issue of local content. A lot of questions on our position on local content. Let me say very clearly that we are sticking to our commitment in ensuring that the industry, as far as possible for Guyanese as a whole.”

Ali also assured that notwithstanding oil being positioned under the Office of the President, they intend to establish the Petroleum Commission. APNU/AFC had been intensely criticised for failing to establish the Commission.

ExxonMobil had identified Payara as the third potential development project within the Stabroek Block after Liza Phase 1 and 2. The Payara discovery was announced in January 2017.
The discovery well was drilled in a new reservoir, encountering more than 29 metres of high-quality oil-bearing sandstone reservoirs.
The Payara development plan includes a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, named Prosperity. It is expected to produce 220,000 barrels per day, supporting up to 45 wells, including production, water injection and gas injection wells.

But with approval of the development plan delayed, the company and other industry experts have warned that Guyana could end up losing billions the longer approval is delayed.