Following some setbacks previously, the Canadian-based CGX Energy is continuing to advance the Berbice Deep Water Port (BWDP) project with in-river construction activities slated to start in the coming months in Berbice, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).
In an update on the project, the company said that the production of concrete piles and other concrete pre-stressed structures for the in-river construction of a 50×12 metre access trestle being built from the quayside yard westward into the Berbice River has begun and is almost completed.
“This will be immediately followed by in-river construction activities, including necessary dredging of the river, in Q1 [first quarter] of 2023,” CGX said in a statement.
According to the company, it has spent over US$22 million on the BDWP project thus far, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Grand 2 Canal Industrial Estates (GCIE).
GCIE had previously reported last year that there were some minor setbacks with the project due to revisions that were needed to the design of its Wharf and Trestle in the Berbice River.
GAICO Construction and General Services Inc. were selected as the lowest bidder to construct the access Trestle and Wharf as well as to perform the required dredging operations. The company is expected to start with the 160 feet access trestle after which the wharf will then be built perpendicular to the trestle – parallel to the eastern bank of the river.
In November 2022, CGX said that the cargo terminal aspect of the Port is expected to commence in mid-2023 and operation of the oil and gas support base in late 2023, subject to construction schedules and supply chains.
The port facility intends to serve as an offshore supply base for the oil and gas industry and as a multi-purpose terminal to service agricultural import/export, containerized and specialized cargo including aggregates for construction purposes. The BDW Project aims to enable the provisioning of operators and vendors in the territorial waters of both Guyana and Suriname.
The deepwater harbour project is being built on 30 acres of land adjacent to and north of Crab Island on the eastern bank of the Berbice River. It was reported that 10 acres of the plot have been set aside as a living laboratory for the study of mangrove habitats in co-existence with commercial port operations.
Previously, the Guyana Government had expressed concerns over the slow pace of the BWDP Project and had given CGX up to September 2022 month-end to submit a plan on how it intends to move forward with the port facility.
Subsequently in October of that year, Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat told this newspaper that he was slated to meet with CGX representatives to intensify discussions on fast-tracking works on the project.
The CGX deep-water harbour project has been in the works since 2010.
GCIE has been engaged in civil works related to the construction of the US$130 million Berbice Deep-Water Port, which intends to serve as an offshore supply base for the oil and gas industry, and as a multi-purpose terminal cargo handling base to service agricultural import/export, containerised and specialised cargo.
Initially, it was expected that the offshore oil and gas support shore base would be operationalised by the third quarter of 2022, and the cargo terminal by the end of 2023.
However, in its financial statements in August 2022, CGX informed shareholders that it would be unable to meet the 2022 deadline and that a revised schedule for completion is being discussed with the contractor.
“As a result of certain delays, the Company believes it is unlikely that the offshore supply base of the port will be fully operational in Q4, 2022 as previously envisioned. A revised schedule for completion of the offshore supply base of the port is being discussed with the contractor and the Company anticipates providing an updated timeline to shareholders and stakeholders in due course,” CGX said in its Second Quarter Financial Statement.
Given its slow-paced operation, the Guyana Government had CGX relinquish two oil exploration blocks offshore – Demerara and Berbice – to the State, so that the company can focus on operations in the Corentyne Block as well as the deep-water port facility.
President Dr Irfaan Ali has already emphasised the importance of a deep-water harbour in Guyana as part of his administration’s push to have the country become a major logistics and trans-shipment hub in the region including the Caribbean.
In fact, back in December 2022, the Head of State indicated that such as facility is needed to link Guyana with Brazil.
“We’re now working, very actively, on ensuring that Guyana will have and must have our own deep-water harbour. That deep water harbour must be connected to Brazil. And must be built as the premier logistics and trans-shipment hub, for the Caribbean, going up North and connecting Brazil. That is the business model,” he stated.
According to President Ali, he had already reached out, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to the new Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva, for a bilateral meeting to discuss this and other issues. While the Guyanese Leader had attended President Lula’s inauguration earlier this month, there were no reports of the two neighbouring leaders having any in-depth bilateral talks.
Guyana had previously gotten serious interest from Abu Dhabi Ports, a United Arab Emirates-based company that deals in industrial zones and logistics, in establishing a deep-water facility in Berbice.