With the APNU/AFC coalition back in the opposition benches, Member of Parliament David Patterson has given a commitment that the party will not stand in the way of any process being pursued by the Dr Irfaan Ali-led PPP/C administration that will bring benefits to Guyana.
“Mr. Speaker, we are not going to stand in the way of any process that would bring additional value and benefit to our people,” Patterson told the National Assembly on Thursday during the 2020 Budget Debate.
He was at the time commenting on the oil and gas sector, specifically the controversial contract his government signed with ExxonMobil in 2016. Patterson, who served as Minister of Public Infrastructure, noted the PPP/C’s criticisms of the oil deal but he maintained that it was a better contract than the previous one signed in 1999.
Patterson also noted the PPP/C’s commitment to pursue better oil deals and he encouraged the administration to stay true to its promise.
“They have been chirping for more than three years that there is a better deal to be had. Well, if there is, go get it,” he said.
The former minister also noted that announcement by the new government to pursue the initiative to bring natural gas to shore, and he reminded that it was the APNU/AFC Coalition that had set the stage for this project.
Patterson pointed out that the APNU/AFC coalition completed a Study on Costs, Economics, Impacts and Key Considerations of transporting and utilizing gas from offshore Guyana for the Generation of Electricity for Local Consumption; a Study on System Expansion of the Generation System, on how best to transition Guyana to clean and renewable energy; a Feasibility Study of Transporting and Utilizing Natural Gas from Offshore Guyana; a Gas to Power Feasibility Analysis; and an Oil and Gas Master Plan.
Patterson also reminded that the former administration did a site selection study where 10 possible locations were identified and ranked accordingly based on land size, site development costs, accessibility to utilities, infrastructure and port access; distance and accessibility to FPSO; socio-economic and environmental impact.
“Mr. Speaker, the only outstanding issue when this project was transferred from the then Ministry of Public Infrastructure to the newly established Department of Energy which is now under the Ministry of Natural Resources on August 1, 2018 – was a final approval for the recommended location…all these reports still remain with the Department of Energy,” the former minister revealed.
He had earlier stressed the importance of new governments continuing on the progress made by their predecessors and he urged the new administration to build on the foundation that the coalition has set within the past five years.
Ironically, when the APNU/AFC administration had assumed office in 2015, it quickly scrapped a number of projects which were already put in motion by the then PPP/C Government including the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project and the Specialty Hospital.