Guyana seeking initial US$1.7M from World Bank to help fund ‘gas to shore’ study

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Guyana's Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman and World Bank Country Director for Caribbean Countries & Latin America, Tashseen Sayed, speaking at a meeting held at the Ministry of Natural Resources in Georgetown, on Tuesday.

Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, has disclosed that the Government of Guyana through the Ministry of Finance has applied to the World Bank for the release of an initial 1.7 million US dollars, out of the 20 million that the international agency is lending to the country to boost its capacity in oil and gas.

The Minister met with officials from the World Bank on Tuesday morning at his Duke Street, Kingston, Georgetown office.

However, in order for the Government to have access to the initial sum, Mr. Trotman said, “It requires us urgently setting up a project implementation unit for the time being until the Department of Energy is established. The Finance Ministry has designated that the Ministry of Natural Resources house that unit. It must have procurement capacities, a coordinator and a financial director.”

Gas to shore

He further related that part of the 1.7 million US dollars will be used to fund a feasibility study that will examine closely the possibilities of bringing natural gas to shore. “I know that the Minister of Public Infrastructure is well engaged with US oil company ExxonMobil on bringing the gas to shore so it is very important that we get technical support and advice that is needed both from the World Bank and outside of the World Bank, so that money is urgently needed.”

Mr. Trotman explained further, “We have had desktop studies but we now need to go further and workout the actual generation aspects onshore. What plant and equipment for the Guyana Power and Light for example, will be needed? We have done an identification of the location, which is at Woodlands on the East Coast of Demerara but certain decisions need to be made and they can’t be made in a vacuum so we need an in-depth study.”

Petroleum Commission

Turning his attention to the Petroleum Commission Bill, Mr. Trotman said the World Bank has provided an expert who has already reviewed the bill and offered comments.

The next step is for these comments to be, “incorporated into legal statutory language.”

Further, he said, “The intention is to have the bill back before the house (either a complete redraft or a new bill) by June of this year.”

He explained too that, “The World Bank has offered to pay for the service to be provided by the expert, even before this country has access to the loan and the Government has also offered to finance that person so in order for us to meet our June deadline, that person should be available to us in a matter of weeks.”

Following the completion of this process, the Minister said the bill will go through another series of consultations, before it is then taken to the Parliament.

He added, “The idea will be to take it back, share it with the stakeholders, the Bar Association, the various oil and gas associations, the accountants and the critics and put it up on our website and then hold a national consultation again and then bring it back to Parliament.”

Meanwhile, the remainder of the 20 million US dollars is expected to be released by the end of 2018.

Last month, Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, announced at a news conference that a 20 million US dollar loan has been approved by the World Bank for capacity building initiatives ahead of first oil in 2020. These include finalizing critical legislation and the establishment of critical units, such as a Petroleum Revenue Unit at the Guyana Revenue Authority, among others.

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