The prospect of bringing natural gas to shore in Guyana for the primary purpose of fueling power plants to produce low-cost electricity remains a project ExxonMobil is passionate about but the company says no final decision has yet been made in this regard.
Speaking to OilNOW on Friday, ExxonMobil Guyana Senior Director, Public and Government Affairs, Kimberly Brasington, said such an undertaking would be a ‘stand-alone’ project separate from the Liza Phase 1 development targeting oil production to begin in 2020.
“The Petroleum Agreement does have articles that address the use of natural gas similar to how it addresses the sale of petroleum and so if we do decide to bring some of the associated natural gas to shore that would actually be a standalone project…completely separate from the FPSO and the development of the Liza field, where we are going to produce oil,” she said.
Discussions have been ongoing between the Guyana government and the oil company on the feasibility of piping associated natural gas to shore from the Stabroek Block where more than 3.2 billion barrels of oil have already been found. ExxonMobil is operator in the 6.6 million acres Stabroek Block, in partnership with Hess and CNOOC Nexen, and is the only company to strike oil to date off the Guyana coast.
Recognizing the benefits low-cost electricity would bring to the South American country, where the cost of power is one of the highest in the region, ExxonMobil has maintained that it is committed to working with authorities towards making this a reality.
“This is going to be a completely separate project to bring some of that gas to shore by a pipeline and make that gas available to fuel a power plant, which will produce lower cost power for the Guyanese people,” Ms. Brasington pointed out.
But as to how soon this can be expected, the official said, “No final decision but we are really interested. It is a project that we feel passionate about. We would like to see this project happen for Guyana and we think it is a good thing and so we are in active conversations with the Government to try to find the best way to make it happen.”
Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, told OilNOW in a recent interview that the issue of profitability for undertaking such an initiative and how this would fit into Guyana’s Green State Development Strategy are some of the factors being considered.
Meanwhile, Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson, recently said that the use of natural gas by the Guyana Power and Light Inc. to generate low-cost electricity has been found to be feasible and put forward a cost of sub US 10 cents per megawatt hour. Mr. Patterson said a location on the East Coast of Demerara has been identified to land the pipeline and further studies and discussions are ongoing with a view to making this a reality.