As the growth of Guyana’s oil and gas sector fuels development in areas where service centers are erected, the government is moving to upgrade and modernise supporting infrastructure – particularly for the transport sector. Through the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), one such project has seen the government move to construct a four-lane highway from Crane to Schoonord in Region Three. This will precede the planned construction of a four-lane highway from Schoonord to Parika on the East Bank of Essequibo (EBE).
Region Three is the area earmarked for a major Gas-to-Energy project set to come online by 2024/2025.
Just last week, the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) opened the bids it received from companies vying to build the road. A total of 21 companies submitted expressions of interest with notable bids from companies like China Road and Bridge Construction; BK International Incorporated; KP Thomas and Sons Contracting Incorporated; Kares Engineering Incorporated and GuyAmerica Construction.
The works on the four-lane highway will be divided into eight lots, with construction expected to last for 16 months per lot. Checks with the NPTAB show that the highest bid received for one lot of this project was GY$2.6 billion with the lowest bid at just over GY$2 million.
Guyana’s President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali had stated that this new highway is a massive project for Region Three set to support different industries.
“Part of the transformation is about creating new infrastructure, converting low-value land or marginal land into high-value assets and having a development mix that takes into consideration the expansion of agriculture, opening up of tourism opportunities, housing development, industrial development and commercial development,” he explained.
Importantly, this new four-lane highway will complement the oil and gas developments earmarked for this traditionally agricultural district. These include:
- Wales Development Zone (WDZ): On the West Bank Demerara, this is where a 220 kilometers (km) offshore 12-inch pipeline from the offshore Liza Phases 1 and 2 projects will terminate for the Gas-to-Energy project. The government is aiming for the WDZ to be one of the largest industrial zones in the Caribbean.
- Tristar Shore Base: An additional 300 acres of land in Versailles were acquired for this shore base facility with options for storage and logistics services. In the construction and operations phases, the West Demerara shore base project will employ mainly Guyanese nationals and will use mainly Guyanese contractors. Tristar has also committed to a procurement strategy that will source its construction materials from Guyanese suppliers.
- Port of Vreed-en-Hoop: This multi-billion-dollar investment of three businessmen – Andron Alphonso of ZRN Investment Inc.; Nazar Mohammed of Hadi’s World Incorporated and Nicholas Deygoo-Boyer of National Hardware Guyana Limited – will see the creation of a commercial port and an industrial area. The facility will occupy 400 hectares of land at Plantation Best and is expected to equip and bring value to the management and operation of the emerging oil and gas sector, meeting the high standards of overall industry needs. This port’s estbalishment, with accompanying projects, is expected to slash shipping costs by 10%. Already eight vessels have been cleared for dredging activities for the port.
- Vreed-en-Hoop Shore Base Incorporated (VEHSI): This US$300 million investment, a subset of the Port of Vreed-en-Hoop, is a special purpose vehicle for ExxonMobil’s use of a 20-acre shore base. ExxonMobil awarded the contract to VEHSI after a competitive bidding process, to secure support for the Yellowtail project slated for first oil by 2025/2026, and other projects.
Critical to the success of these projects is infrastructure to link Region Three to the capital city. To this end, the government, in May of this year, awarded J.V. China Railway Construction Corporation (International) the US$260 million contract to construct a four-lane, high-span, fixed bridge across the Demerara River. This project is slated to be completed in two years.