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Cheaper power may be closer for Guyana as government embarks on new round of discussions to pipe gas to shore

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The recently installed administration in Guyana has already been meeting with companies to further discussions on the proposed gas-to-shore project that would provide the South American country with reliable and affordable power which could see a number of new industries emerging.

The cost of electricity in Guyana is considerably high and has served as a barrier to the growth and expansion of enterprise – particularly those in the manufacturing sector.

“Guyana would have lost a lot over the years because we couldn’t find more effective and cheaper ways of generating power,” Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat noted, while speaking on a local radio programme, Guyana’s Oil & You, on Thursday.

With the discovery by ExxonMobil of more than 8 billion barrels of oil equivalent resources, which include associated gas, officials have been looking at cheaper ways to generate power. This has seen ongoing discussions taking place in recent years with the US oil major, operator of the offshore Stabroek Block, about the prospect of taking gas to shore.

Mr. Bharrat said government’s objective is to provide cheaper power, both at the level of the household and industry, which in turn will attract more foreign direct investment.

“We need investors to come to Guyana because when these companies come to Guyana, they bring foreign currency [and create jobs] which is what we need,” he said, alluding to the prospect of expanding the manufacturing capabilities of the country once there is cheap and reliable power.

“Our government through His Excellency, Dr. Ali [President of Guyana] and Vice President, Dr. Jagdeo, along with myself, have been engaging a number of stakeholders, a number of investors and the present companies that are operating, to look at…how early we can implement the gas to energy project,” he indicated.

The Natural Resources Minister said this entails putting infrastructure in place and running pipelines from the offshore oil fields to shore base facilities. “Gas is not something we can send a ship out there with a tanker and load it and bring it to shore. It doesn’t operate like crude oil,” he reminded.

As such, he pointed out that this will require a significant investment. “So, we are trying to get investors to buy into he idea of doing it,” he said, pointing out that the increasing number of discoveries and “large amounts of gas out there” have made the prospect more feasible for investors.

“I can tell you that last week…the President himself, the Vice President and myself, met with some of these companies and we held discussions on this project. The companies are willing to work with us to implement this project,” he stated.

Mr. Bharrat said an announcement will be made when a contract is finalized, and timelines are set.

ExxonMobil has said it will be doing its part by “coming to the table with technology and ideas” to see how best the diversion of natural gas to shore can become a reality.

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