Govt in talks with West Dem residents to acquire properties for gas-to-shore pipeline

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Government Ministers engaging West Demerara residents

– AG says residents will get fair & transparent deals for properties

The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government is in talks with residents on the West Coast of Demerara (WCD) and the West Bank of Demerara (WBD), to acquire their properties and clear a path for the transformative gas-to-shore project.

On Friday, Attorney General Anil Nandlall, alongside Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill and Head of the Gas-to-Shore Task Force Winston Brassington met with residents at the West Demerara Secondary School.

The path that has to be cleared for the pipeline is in the vicinity of Nouvelle Flanders, WCD, to Wales, WBD. During the meeting with the residents, the acquisition of their private properties and compensation was discussed.

“I made it clear to the proprietors that the Government will be guided by the principles of fairness, transparency, fair market value and compliance with the Constitution, and that as far as possible, consensus resolutions will be vigorously pursued.”

“After the meeting, a team of lawyers has been retained, who will negotiate with each property owner or their legal representatives until an agreement is reached. In addition to monetary compensation, the option of being allocated lands elsewhere will be proposed,” the Attorney General said in a statement.

AG Anil Nandlall during the consultation with residents

Last year, the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act 1986 was amended, preventing companies from dealing directly with residents who have properties that have to be acquired for the sake of projects and transferring that power instead to the hands of the subject Minister.

The rationale for this, according to the statement, is that the Government will ensure that all transactions regarding private properties with their owners will be conducted fairly and with due recognition of the Constitutional rights of the residents affected.

The gas-to-shore project, which is currently in the pipelines, will have a 25-year lifespan and is expected to employ up to 800 workers during the peak construction stage, as well as some 40 full-time workers during the operations stage, and another 50 workers during the decommissioning stage.

It will feature approximately 220 kilometres of a subsea pipeline offshore that will run from the Destiny and Unity Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels in the Stabroek Block to onshore. Upon landing on the West Coast Demerara shore, the pipeline will continue approximately 25 kilometres to the Natural Gas Liquid (NGL) plant at Wales, West Bank Demerara.

The pipeline would be 12 inches and is expected to transport some 50 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) of dry gas to the NGL plant but can push as much as 120 mmscfd. The pipeline’s route onshore will follow the same path as the fibre optic cables and will terminate at Hermitage, part of the Wales Development Zone (WDZ) which will house the gas-to-shore project.

The Guyana Government has already invited interested parties to make investments in the Wales Development Zone, which will be heavily industrialised and for which approximately 150 acres of land have been allocated. Those lands were previously used by the Wales Sugar Estate.

Head of the Gas-to-Shore Task Force, Brassington has previously stated that ExxonMobil Guyana, which is funding the pipeline aspect of the project out of cost oil, has found that there would be substantial savings from combining these two facilities.

Hence, it was agreed that the power plant and the NGL plant would be done under a combined Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) process. The aim is to deliver rich gas by the end of 2024 for the power plant while the NGL facility is slated to be online by 2025.

An in-depth review is meanwhile expected to be conducted on the gas supply agreement from oil giant ExxonMobil for the gas-to-shore project, with the Government going out to tender for a consultant to conduct the review and provide legal and commercial advisory services.

In a recently published Request for Proposals (RFP), the Natural Resources Ministry invited companies to submit proposals for providing advisory services to the Government for the gas-to-shore project.

The Government has also gone out to tender for a company to manage the construction phase of the integrated NGL plant and the 300 MW power plant, all part of the gas-to-shore project.