Saturday, September 18, 2021

Multi-billion-dollar ‘Port of Vreed-en-Hoop’ facility in the works

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Guyanese company NRG Holdings Inc. plans to establish a multi-billion-dollar multi-purpose port facility dubbed the ‘Port of Vreed-en-Hoop’ that will feature a major shore base at Foreshore, Plantation Best on the West Bank of Demerara.

The intended development will fill the gap for oil and gas support services to meet the rapidly expanding offshore operations while providing a range of services geared towards economic development onshore.    These will be carried out with the local economy benefitting from employment, duties and taxes, ancillary goods and services and capacity-building.

“Guyana will continue to lose out under the current arrangement, unless increased emphasis is placed on the development of these supporting facilities that capture these benefits in-country and direct them into the development of the Guyanese people,” the Project Summary states.

The landmark facility is expected to equip and bring value to the management and operation of the emerging oil and gas sector while directly meeting the high standards of overall industry needs.

The document notes that NRG is a consortium of local businesses which includes ZRN Investments Inc. owned by well-known businessman and miner, Andron Alphonso; Hadi’s World Incorporated owned by businessman Nazar Mohammed and National Hardware Guyana Limited operated by Nicholas Deygoo Boyer.

The ‘Port of Vreed-en-Hoop’ is set to cost approximately US$200-US$600 million and that figure includes the facilitation of geotechnical and environmental studies, engineering works, dredging operations, reclamation, and the construction of a wharf, storage, warehouse, and safety facilities.

NRG also outlined that the project would provide employment for approximately 150-200 persons during construction and 50-100 persons for the basic operation and maintenance of the base port facilities in phase 1 of construction.

It is expected that once the phase 1 components are fully operational, inclusive of service providers, approximately 1000 persons will be employed, and that number is expected to double when the phase 2 components are completed and operationalized.

Phase 1 will comprise deepening, widening, and dredging of an access channel approximately 100-125 metres wide and 7- 10 metres deep and the dredging of the port basin and berth pockets.

On the other hand, Phase 2 will comprise of a further deepening dredging of the access channel to approximately 10-12 metres deep along with the deepening dredging of the port basin and berth pocket.

The proposed facility will occupy approximately 400 hectares of coastal and nearshore lands and water located seaward of existing Mangroves on the Atlantic coast at Plantation Best, West Bank Demerara within the Best/Klein/Pouderoyen Neighborhood Democratic Council (NDC).

It will include an offshore terminal, fabrication, umbilical and spooling yards. Administrative buildings will house offices and there will be modernized logistics centers, warehousing, container management systems, and potential for storage of sub-sea equipment, pipe inspection and repairs.

Moreover, it is set to include areas for individual and separate operators to provide relevant services to the offshore oil and gas operators including but not limited to waste management/effluent treatment plants, other environmental services, lodgings, mud plant and logistics.

An area is also earmarked for a potential helipad with an additional wharf, berths, and a dry dock.

A recent public notice published by the EPA outlined that the project was screened, and it was determined that it will not significantly affect the environment, thus it is exempt from the requirement to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

However, the project does require an Environmental and Social Management Plan (EMPS) to be prepared to address certain specific minor issues that were identified during the screening process.

The EPA outlined too that those issues can be addressed through appropriate and practical environmental safeguards at the respective proposed location and its environs.

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