Oil refinery not on “immediate horizon” – Guyana Finance Minister

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Guyana's Finance Minister, Winston Jordan (centre) speaking with former Trinidad and Tobago Energy Minister, Kevin Ramnarine and Economist, Marla Dukharan, during a Webinar on Wednesday, August 15, 2018.

As preparations move forward in Guyana for oil production, set to begin in less than 24 months, the country’s Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, says the prospect of building a local refinery is not an immediate concern of government.

Mr Jordan said a number of refineries located in the Caribbean, and throughout the region, including Trinidad and Tobago’s Petrotrin, remain options which are being examined by the administration and a decision is yet to be made on the way forward.

Regarding building a refinery in the South American country, he said “I don’t think that this is on the immediate horizon where production would be as it relates to our part of it. But certainly, as production ramps up, when it becomes feasible I am sure a refinery would become more and more into the future,” he said. The Finance Minister was speaking at the time on a webinar conducted on Wednesday, August 15, moderated by Economist Marla Dukharan. Former Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs, Kevin Ramnarine, was the other guest on the programme.

In May 2017, Pedro Haas, Director of Advisory Services at Hartree Partners, presented a report based on a study commissioned by the Guyana government to determine if it was feasible for the country to set up an oil refinery. Haas outlined a number of scenarios that saw the cost of setting up such a facility exceeding US$5 billion.

Mr Ramnarine told OilNOW in a recent interview that the more discoveries that are made the more relevant discussions about building a refinery in Guyana will become. “So the discussion on whether to refine or not to refine is a discussion that should not be put away in Guyana. It’s a discussion which I think should be ongoing in this country. If there is no refinery in this country it means that you have to import refinery products. It would be a government decision at that point in time whether to use the revenues from the exports to subsidize the imports of refined products,” he said.

ExxonMobil’s 8th discovery in Guyana has pushed total estimated recoverable reserves to more than 4 billion barrels of oil with projected daily output potentially exceeding 750,000 barrels per day by 2025. Oil production is set to begin by March 2020.