President of ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge, said the design and construction of the Gas-to-Energy pipeline will be of the highest standard, as plans move forward for the landmark project that is set to cut the cost of power by half in the new oil producing South American country.
“We have to make sure we design the pipeline for the fluids that will flow through it and for the water depths and everything like that which we’ve done; then we will have to ensure that it’s constructed to the right standards, especially for things like the welds,” he said during a recent interview streamed on Facebook. “We have to make sure the welds are to the right standards and then after installation, that the pipeline is properly covered, protected and monitored while it’s in operation to ensure that the wall thickness is not deteriorating, that we prevent any corrosion in the pipeline.”
He added that the design, construction, installation, and operation of the pipeline are all contemplated with rigorous processes to ensure there is no issue. But in the unlikely event that there is, Routledge said the company has procedures to mitigate leakages, de-pressure the pipeline, make repairs and bring it back into service.
Routledge pointed out that tough negotiations between the government and company for the project has resulted in what he considers to be the best deal for the country.
“The Gas-to-Energy project was a very tough negotiation. I said to the government this is the best deal I’ve ever seen for a country… the gas is essentially coming free to provide the lowest possible cost of energy for the country,” he said.
He was keen to note that a good deal of groundwork has already started such as the tendering for services and for materials like the pipeline, and the long lead equipment to build the pipeline from offshore to onshore.
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In parallel, Routledge said Exxon and the government are discussing how the administration could be assisted with the building out of the power station. “We are doing this because we are wedded to the success of this; we want this project to be successful and to deliver that reliable lower-cost power and lower emission power for the country,” he added.
With respect to concerns regarding measures being put in place to mitigate leakage or similar types of incidents, Routledge said this is catered for in the design of the pipeline.
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Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo has said the cost for the pipeline has not yet been finalised but authorities are working with a preliminary estimate of around US$1.3 billion for now. He said this would be funded from cost oil over a 20-year period.
While Exxon is handling the pipeline construction phase, government is tasked with completing the onshore natural gas liquids facility and power plant. The onshore facilities will be situated at Wales on the West Bank of Demerara in a special industrial zone. These facilities will collect and process natural gas transported via a 225 kilometer (km) pipeline from the Liza Phases 1 and 2 projects. The onshore plants could come in 2025, based on project documents published by the Environmental Protection Agency, but may arrive later depending on the time of award of certain contracts on the government’s side.
The project is expected to transport 50 million cubic feet of gas per day in its first phase. This will provide enough electricity to stimulate Guyana’s energy expansion agenda, adding 250 megawatts (MW) to the grid and providing cheaper power to catalyse the shift to renewables.
To make sure that the project is completed efficiently, government has said it will hire a world-class project management firm to supervise the process.