President hopeful of 2023 completion date for gas-to-shore project

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President Dr Irfaan Ali being interviewed by reporters

President Dr Irfaan Ali says he is optimistic of a 2023 completion date for the transformative gas-to-shore project which has the potential to revolutionise the country’s energy sector and bring relief to Guyanese.

When asked about the project on Monday, the President cited the ongoing work of the gas-to-shore project advisory committee, headed by former National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) head Winston Brassington.

“We have two advisory committees working now. One on local content, one on the gas-to-shore project. What I know is they’re doing the ground work in terms of getting the information. Because before we move to strong negotiations, we have to get the information together,” Ali explained.

He noted that discussions will continue to be held with oil giant ExxonMobil, which is producing oil in the Stabroek block through its subsidiary Esso Exploration & Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL)

“Exxon is a stakeholder. We have to speak to all the stakeholders. But our intention, my hope and the work we want to get done, is to ensure that at least by the end of 2023, we can have the gas to shore project up and running and we can have natural gas-powered energy so that our energy costs can come down,” the President said.

Natural gas, while not a renewable source of energy, is composed mostly of methane and small amounts of hydrocarbon. Its emissions contain a significantly lower level of carbon dioxide, compared to oil. It is therefore as clean a source of energy as one can get from a fossil energy source.

Already, private companies like Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) have begun the transition. Last year, the company commissioned Guyana’s first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) gasification terminal.
The government has been working to build the Guyana Power and Light (GPL’s) capacity to generate power using renewable energy, with the ongoing construction of a 46-megawatt, dual fire power plant at its Garden of Eden location by Finnish company Wartsila.

It is expected that when commissioned, the engines will be capable of using both Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) and the natural gas being piped in from offshore Guyana. April 2021 has bene cited as the completion date for this particular project.

In an effort to further push the gas-to-shore initiative, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government had stipulated stiff fines and penalties against flaring of excess natural gas in the Payara License it granted to Exxon – something which Exxon has been flagged for doing in the Stabroek Block.

Exxon itself has said that the gas that would be required for the gas-to-shore project is available. Estimates have put the figure required for the gas to shore project at 30 to 35 million cubic feet of natural gas.

Previously released data from Norwegian research company Rystad Energy on Guyana had indicated that a little 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 last year was found to have 207 feet of high-quality gas condensate sandstone reservoirs.

But for reasons unclear, little progress was made by the previous A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government on the gas to shore project. There had only been talk of a natural gas and liquid petroleum plants, with the pipe carrying the gas to shore at a location along the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) and the power being integrated into the national grid.