With massive volumes of hydrocarbons being found in the Guyana-Suriname basin in recent years, development of these resources will require significant shorebase support services which leaders of both countries believe can be established by way of a joint initiative.
The presidents of the two countries recently disclosed that they are examining the potential of a joint deepwater harbour to provide such services as exploration and production activities in the basin ramp up.
On Tuesday, November 24, during a state visit to Suriname by Guyana’s president, Dr. Irfaan Ali, a joint press conference was held with him and Suriname’s President Chandrikapersad Santokhi. This media engagement followed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two governments concerning infrastructure projects across the Corentyne River as well as a formation agreement for the Strategic Dialogue and Cooperation Platform between Guyana and Suriname.
Eighteen discoveries made by ExxonMobil in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana have been pegged at about nine billion barrels of recoverable oil equivalent resources while Apache has discovered an estimated 1.4 billion boe in Suriname’s Block 58 from three finds thus far.
During the press conference, the Surinamese president said that the first meeting of the working group for the Strategic Dialogue Cooperation Platform has been held.
“As small border nations, it is of utmost importance to maintain good neighbourliness, to join efforts and to form strategic alliances to achieve maximum successes for the development aspirations of both our peoples in different areas of the economy,” Mr. Santokhi stated.
He noted that “with the recent oil findings in both countries,” the momentum is there to target the focus on sustainable development and “the resolution of the existing common challenges of two developing countries.”
Questioned as to whether they are looking at cooperating in the development of a deepwater harbour, the President of Suriname said, “…the working group will have similar discussions to see what is the best approach in the benefit of both nations because an offshore base is a more than a USD$1 billion investment. There is an opportunity to look at such a huge project jointly.”
Earlier this month, Guyana’s Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill had disclosed that the government would be requesting Expressions of Interest for the development of a deepwater harbour in Berbice. The Guyana-Suriname border is located in the proximity of the county of Berbice, and the Corentyne river–located in Berbice–forms that border. In fact, the two countries have also partnered for the development of a bridge across this river to link the two nations.
Mr. Edghill had said that this deepwater harbour would “facilitate the possibility of landing cruise ships, shorebase facilities and the capacity to be able to bring in larger vessels that are known to traverse the Demerara River.”
Speaking on the issue of a joint facility, President Ali meanwhile said, “We are now exploring synergies, and this is where we are.”