Liquefied Petroleum Gas plant being considered for Wales – President

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Among the projects the Government is presently considering for Wales on the West Bank of Demerara (WBD), where the gas-to-shore project is likely to land, is a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) plant that will have the potential to cater for the energy needs of the people.

This was revealed by President Dr Irfaan Ali during a recent interview with US broadcaster Farook Juman. According to Ali, Government is not only considering an LPG plant as a spin-off for the gas-to-shore project, but also a protein plant.

LPG is a derivative of crude petroleum. Colourless and odourless but distributed as a liquid, it is a popular gas for consumer needs like cooking and heating appliances. President Ali described these initiatives as part of the development push.

“Region Three, you will see massive investment on the shoreside of the Demerara River that will create massive opportunities and a trickle-down effect. You will see development of agro-processing facilities. You will see greater use of the Essequibo River,” President Ali said.

“The landing of the gas-to-shore pipeline in Region Three to Wales onshore, which will have a big industrial development taking place there that is linked to not only power generation and a power plant, but we’re looking at the possibility of a protein plant. We’re looking at LPG.”

According to the Head of State, this is how urbanisation and regionalisation take place. And he explained that this rapid development will be supported by the Government’s housing programme.

“These are all going to be spin-off (industries). Can you understand the massive transformation that will take place in that region, that will create also a population push,” President Ali posited.

Soon after the Government issued permit licences to Exxon for the Payara Development Project last year, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo had announced that the Government would turn its attention to negotiating the gas-to-energy project.

He had pointed out that Guyana is generating at nearly 17 to 20 cents per kilowatt/hour. As such, he noted that the project could cut the cost of electricity in the country by more than half. To this end, he had announced that a team has been set up to start negotiations on the gas-to-energy project, with the Government eyeing 2023 to bring the project to fruition.

And indeed, a Gas-to-Shore Project Advisory Committee headed by former National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) head Winston Brassington was set up soon afterwards to look at various locations for the gas-to-shore project.

A number of factors, including geotechnical, geophysical and environmental factors were examined before Vice President Jagdeo announced recently that the Government had settled on Wales to land the pipelines for the project.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mark Phillips, who has responsibility for the energy sector, has previously said that the Government is looking to produce 200 megawatts of power from the gas-to-shore project by 2024.

Exxon has said that around 30 to 35 million cubic feet of natural gas would be required for the gas-to-shore project. Recently-released data from Norwegian research company Rystad Energy had indicated that less than 20 per cent of the 1.8 billion Barrels of Oil Equivalent (BOE) discovered last year was gas.

The Haimara discovery made by Exxon in 2019 was found to have 207 feet of high-quality gas condensate sandstone reservoirs. Several experts have already championed the merits of bringing gas to shore, including US-based energy consultant Edwin Callender.

At an energy forum in June of 2019, Callender had noted that in a country like Guyana where power outages were a significant problem, natural gas energy production could help to modernise the country.

Robert McNally, another energy expert and the President of Washington-based Rapidan Energy Group, has also endorsed the Government’s drive for bringing gas to shore. During a visit to Guyana last year, McNally told the media that that natural gas would be a much cleaner substitute for the Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) currently being used by the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) to generate power.

According to McNally, this can offer the country an abundant, reliable and cleaner source of power. McNally noted that having studied the oil market, Guyana also being able to cut its electricity expenses would be a “godsend” for the country.