The subsea and pipeline network for Guyana’s landmark gas-to-energy project is poised to see a US$1.3B (GY$260B) investment from ExxonMobil’s affiliate, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL).
According to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which was released on Wednesday, “A higher certainty cost estimate will be developed after receiving and negotiating all major contracts.”
Additionally, EEPGL shared that separate from the Project’s Environmental Authorisation process, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a no-objection letter authorising selected early works activities that will support the proposed construction activities for the project. The approved early works relate primarily to the upgrading, rehabilitation, and repair of approximately six bridges and approximately 11 kilometers of roads along the West Bank of Demerara (WBD) Public Road from the village of Patentia south toward the Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) Plant site to provide improved access.
The early works activities will also include the establishment of an approximately 5-hectare laydown area to stockpile aggregate, which is needed for the early works road improvements. All road and bridge improvements are expected to generally remain within the existing road right-of-way (RoW). These early works activities are essentially maintenance of existing facilities.
In addition to supporting the needs of the project, the EIA states that these improvements are expected to result in improved vehicular access and enhanced safety for residents in this area, who currently only have dry-season vehicular access in some areas because of poor existing road conditions. Since these early works activities are subject to a separate EPA approval—and will not result in any significant adverse environmental or social impacts, they are not discussed in the EIA.
The document notes that Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), on behalf of itself and its co-venturers (Hess Guyana Exploration Limited and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited), will use associated natural gas produced from the Liza field in the Stabroek Block to support the project.
The Government of Guyana is pursuing a separate project to construct a natural gas power plant that would use a portion of this associated natural gas as a fuel source. The power plant will not be owned and operated by EEPGL and is therefore expected to be addressed under a separate Environmental Authorisation process. The power plant thus is not included in the EIA (with the exception that the power plant is considered as part of the cumulative impact assessment).
Accordingly, EEPGL, at the request of the Government of Guyana, is only providing the gas for the fuel.
This will entail capturing associated gas produced from crude oil production operations on the Liza Phase 1 (Destiny) and Liza Phase 2 (Unity) Floating, Production, Storage, and Offloading (FPSO) vessels, transporting approximately 50 million standard cubic feet per day (MMscfd; 1.4 million standard cubic meters per day [MMsm3/d]) of rich gas via a subsea pipeline and then an onshore pipeline to a natural gas liquids (NGL) processing plant (NGL Plant), treating the gas to remove NGLs (i.e., propane, butane, and pentanes+) for sale to third parties, and ultimately delivering dry gas meeting government specifications for use at the Power Plant.
The EIA further notes that construction will begin as soon as possible after receiving all necessary authorisations with a target date of August 2022 for start of NGL Plant site preparation and will take approximately 3 years. The combined offshore and onshore pipeline system is targeted to be ready to deliver rich gas by end of 2024, and the NGL Plant is targeted to be operational by mid-2025.
Additionally, the GTE has a planned life cycle of at least 25 years and is expected to employ up to 800 workers at peak during the construction stage, approximately 40 full-time equivalent workers during the operations stage, and approximately 50 workers during the decommissioning stage.
This EIA was prepared by ERM, in association with the Guyanese consultancies E&A Consultants, Inc. (E&A), Caribbean Engineering & Management Consultants Inc. (CEMCO), the University of Guyana Centre for the Study of Biological Diversity (CSBD), and Leon Moore Nature Experience (LMNE); Trinidadian consultant Caribbean Transportation Consultancy Services Company Limited (CARITRANS); and U.S.-based consultant SLR International Corporation (SLR).
The gas-to-energy project is expected to bring a series of benefits for Guyana, including reducing the cost of power by 50%, lowering emissions significantly, facilitating the energy transition, saving hundreds of millions of US dollars in fuel costs, and setting the stage for the advancement of Guyana’s value added industries.