Just days after the sod was turned for the construction of the US$300 million shore base facility for ExxonMobil at Port Vreed-en-Hoop, the dredging of the area commenced on Thursday as per scheduled.
On Saturday, one of the directors of the Guyanese consortium, Azruddin Mohamed, visited the site to check on the ongoing works that are being done.
“We were supposed to start operations on June 23, and I must say that we have commenced with the time schedule… with work ongoing, we expect that the pace would hasten and probably we can complete the first phase before the stipulated timeline,” he told Guyana Times.
Further, he was happy that the workforce comprises locals since it adds value to the project. “We cannot have a Guyanese project going on and only employ foreigners… indeed foreigners are the experts but having locals on the worksite is also necessary.”
At the sod turning, Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat lauded the Guyanese consortium for answering the Government’s call for investments throughout the country.
“I think they must be commended for taking this initiative and answering the call of our Government to form consortiums and joint ventures so that Guyanese can invest in the oil and gas sector. Because we know that it is a very capital-intensive industry.”
“It requires a lot of start-up capital to invest in the oil and gas sector. And that is a challenge for us, in Guyana. And one way to overcome that, is in partnership,” Minister Bharrat further explained.
He stated that the Government is committed to working with the oil and gas companies to bring benefits to Guyanese. The fact that today, approximately 4000 Guyanese are employed in the sector, is testimony to that.
In an earlier news report, Geert Koch of the Jan De Nul Group had stated that about 100 workers, both foreigners and locals will be recruited to work on the project. As of Saturday, more than 40 persons were employed.
Further, with respect to the operations, he explained that about 2 kilometres of pipeline will be affixed to the vessel which will take the materials from the dredging to be filtered to the area for the land reclamation.
This process, he added, will be a tedious one but he is confident that it will be completed within the specified deadline.
However, after the first phase is completed, the second phase which involves deepening the dredging of the access canal and expanding reclamation will come on stream. Both projects are expected to be completed by 2024.
In April, ExxonMobil Guyana and the Vreed-en-Hoop Shorebase Incorporated (VEHSI) signed a 20-year agreement for shore base services to be provided at the port of Vreed-en-Hoop facility to support the US oil giant’s operations offshore Guyana.
VEHSI, which is undertaking Guyana’s first multi-purpose port facility, is a joint venture between a fully-owned Guyanese consortium – NRG Holdings Incorporated, and Jan De Nul Group, a Belgium-based company that specialises in offshore, marine, civil, environment, and project development.
The consortium includes Hadi’s World Inc, owned by businessmen Nazar “Shell” Mohamed and Azruddin Mohamed, Nicholas Boyer of National Hardware Guyana Limited, and Andron Alphonso of ZRN Investments Inc.
NRG holds a majority stake of 85 per cent in VESHI, while the remaining 15 per cent is owned by Jan De Nul – the company that will construct the facility.
The multi-million port of Vreed-en-Hoop, which will be located at the Best, West Coast Demerara foreshore, will feature an offshore terminal; fabrication, umbilical and spooling yards; a dry dock facility; a wharf and berths, and administrative buildings, among other facilities.
At the signing, President of ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge stated that this shore base facility will allow the company to do more construction-related works, such as fabrication, right here in Guyana to support its offshore operations.
He explained that Exxon has already invested in the Guyana Shore Base Inc (GYSBI) which has enabled them to bring the supply chain for drilling operations and production operations into Guyana almost completely out of Trinidad.