Regional energy strategy to soon be presented – Pres. Ali tells Suriname’s Oil Expo

President Dr Irfaan Ali addressing the second Suriname Energy, Oil and Gas Summit & Exhibition (SEOGS) underway in the Dutch- speaking republic.

A regional approach to energy security will be taken to fast track the development of the Caribbean. Countries like Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados are expected to play key roles in the formulation of the strategy which will create prosperity for the region.

President Dr Irfaan Ali made the disclosure Monday, when he addressed the second Suriname Energy, Oil and Gas Summit & Exhibition (SEOGS) underway in the Dutch- speaking republic.

President Ali said like developed countries, the Caribbean is going to use its natural resources for pressing development issues and needs.

“I had a chat with Prime Minister Rowley (of Trinidad), with Minister Stuart Young, President Santokhi and we are proposing to move rapidly on a regional energy strategy to look at all the potential areas for investment, to bring investors together, to bring the markets together, and to see how as quickly and transparently as possible, we can unlock those opportunities.

“So, by the end of the next quarter, investors can have a fair and clear understanding on what the energy strategy, and energy needs of this region will be, and where are the future opportunities and what are we trying to unlock, so that you could have a clear direction as to where we are going,” President Ali stated.

The world, Dr. Ali pointed out is facing an energy, food, climate and inequality crisis. However, he noted that what is worse, is the supply deficit that exists.

He made it clear that in the midst of the world crisis, Caribbean nations need to stick together, referencing oil and gas producing nations like Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago, along with Barbados that has natural gas potential.

“We have to come together to advance a solution not only for the region, but one that incorporates Northern Brazil especially, and that is Guyana and Suriname must work aggressively. We have to remove bureaucratic delays and advance this project with dynamism and aggressiveness, and also, we have to work on unlocking our natural gas potential because that can contribute to rebalancing the supply side of the region, and right here in Suriname in a few weeks, we are hoping that a full strategy can be presented on energy,” the Guyanese leader explained.

Slow Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Growth, supply chains disruption, rise in inflation, high fertiliser cost, and the economic repercussions of the war in Ukraine are some of the challenges the region is facing. President Ali said if the region cannot find the resources to invest in those areas, it will continue to lag behind.

“We have to deliver to the people of our country and this region, better education, better healthcare, better infrastructure, create the conditions in which our diaspora will feel comfortable coming back to their homeland. We have to give the future generation a better shot at life. And that is a big responsibility on us too, that is why oil and gas cannot be looked at in a one-dimensional way. We have to put together a development strategy that shows how the rest of the economy will be built out from the revenues that comes from oil and gas,” President Ali relayed at the Oil and Gas Summit.

Suriname’s Energy, Oil & Gas Summit & Exhibition is being held in Paramaribo and will run for three days under the them ‘Suriname –Open for Business.’ [Extracted and Modified from DPI]