Govt not satisfied with CGX’s pace in constructing deep-water facility in Berbice

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An artist’s impression of CGX’s deep-water harbour

Canadian-owned company CGX Energy Incorporated is still committed to working on constructing its Deepwater facility at Crab Island in the Berbice River, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).

This is according to Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat, in response to questions from this publication. But while the Canadian company is working on this project, Bharrat noted that the Government is keeping a close eye on the project since it is not too satisfied with the pace at which work is ongoing.

“Well, we would have indicated to the company that we are not pleased with the pace at which the work is moving ahead. The Government would have voiced our concerns several times. For the port facility at Crab Island, just off the Berbice Bridge. That is their facility.”

“It is not intended to be a shore base only. It was intended also to be similar to what the Vreed-en-Hoop facility will be. It will be a shore base, added to that a port facility that can accommodate other services, other than in the oil and gas sector. They’re committed towards working. But of course, as a Government, we have to monitor that,” Bharrat added.

The Deepwater Port project, the first of its kind in Guyana, is being constructed at Seawall Village, Corentyne, to the tune of US$80 million. CGX’s subsidiary, Grand Canal Industrial Estates (GCIE) Inc, has been engaged in civil works related to the construction of the facility.

In February of this year, it had been announced that CGX would soon start dredging and constructing docks for its deep-water port. CGX Executive Chairman Suresh Narine had said that, when completed, the port itself will have an offshore supply component to facilitate all the traditional services for the oil and gas sector, including the supply of materials, cement, fuel and even storage.

However, he had noted that in addition to the oil and gas sector, the Deepwater Port facility will support the region’s vast agricultural activities by offering container imports and exports services.

This will be done at a multi-purpose terminal that will feature a grading facility, a containerised facility, and a specialised cargo facility by the end of 2023. Of the allocated 30 acres of land on the eastern bank of the Berbice River, the Deepwater Port facility is being constructed on a 20-acre lot and is designed to have a wharf platform and trestle access.

The CGX deep-water harbour project has been in the works since 2010, when the company secured a 50-year lease on the property. But it was not until late 2020 that GCIE began advertising for a number of senior positions related to the deep-water harbour project.
While the initial project cost was estimated at US$80 million, it is expected, however, that when further expansion to construct heavy lift and fabrication facilities is done, costs will reach as high as US$130 million.

In February of this year, CGX and its joint venture partner Frontera Energy Corporation had announced an oil find of 177 feet of oil-bearing reserves at the Kawa-1 well in the Corentyne Block.

Since then, however, the company has been making moves to scale back its presence in the other blocks. It was announced that CGX was reaching an agreement with the Government to relinquish larger sections of the Demerara and Corentyne Blocks, which will potentially go to auction in September.

Both the Corentyne and Demerara Blocks have been in CGX’s hands for some time without being drilled. Back in May 2019, the Strategic Joint Venture between CGX and Frontera was approved to farm into two shallow-water offshore Petroleum Prospecting Licences for the Corentyne and Demerara Blocks.

Both of these blocks are adjacent to ExxonMobil’s Stabroek Block, where multiple discoveries have been made. The farm-in joint venture allowed Frontera to acquire a 33.333 per cent working interest in the two blocks.