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Petroleum Bill to be taken to Guyana law making body May 8

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The Government of Guyana is preparing to table the Petroleum Commission of Guyana Bill 2017 at the next sitting of the country’s National Assembly, slated for May 8, 2017. The Bill is just one of the measures being put in place as the South American country prepares to begin oil production by 2020.

A new-comer to the oil and gas industry, Guyana is currently being provided with support from countries like the United States of America, Norway, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, Chile, Mexico and the Russian Federation, along with agencies including the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Conservation International, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), European Union and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Raphael Trotman

According to Minister responsible for the Natural Resources Sector, Raphael Trotman, the Natural Resources and Ocean Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat based in London, United Kingdom, is currently reviewing Guyana’s laws which are already in place, and crafting new legislation where necessary.

Reporting to the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources on April 19, 2017, the Minister said while the countries and agencies are providing various forms of assistance, its sister nation in CARICOM; Trinidad and Tobago, has requested that the Government of Guyana enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with them, to give technical and other support.

Trinidad, the largest oil and natural gas producer in the Caribbean, is showing major interest in Guyana’s developing oil industry as that country continues to feel the effects of the slump in oil prices. Trinidad’s state energy company, Petrotrin, is lobbying strongly for the opportunity to refine Guyana’s oil. Mr. Trotman has however pointed out that where the country’s oil will be refined “…is a decision that has not yet been made.”

On March 30, ExxonMobil Corporation’s affiliate Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd. encountered 82 ft of high-quality, oil-bearing sandstone reservoirs while drilling the Snoek well on the Stabroek block offshore Guyana. The well reached 16,978 ft in 5,128 ft of water and targeted similar aged reservoirs as encountered in previous discoveries at Liza and Payara. Snoek is in the southern portion of the 6.6 million-acre block, 5 miles to the southeast of the world-class 2015 Liza-1 discovery. ExxonMobil earlier this year said it encountered more than 95 ft of oil-bearing sandstone in its Payara-1 well, which was drilled about 10 miles northwest of the Liza-1 discovery.

Mr. Trotman disclosed that the company is still in the process of estimating the size of the Pyara-1 and Snoek finds. The Liza-1 find is declared at “a minimum of 800 million barrels to a maximum of 1.4 billion” barrels of oil, the largest thus far.

Altogether, discoveries made so far by Exxon and its partners in the Stabroek Block are estimated to be around 2 billion barrels of recoverable high-quality crude.

Along with the oil find at the Liza Well, a volume of gas was discovered. While some of the gas will be re-injected into the well, the natural resources minister disclosed that “there is going to be excess gas and we are told that we may be able to access about 50 million cubic ft per day.”

This, according to his calculation, may give the country a 200MV natural gas energy generating plant, which could “become the answer to all of our generation problems,” he pointed out, referring to the unreliable nature and high cost of electricity in the country.

“What is certain is that we will not be squandering the gas…the gas will be used; either some will be sold to neighbouring countries or some will be utilized in Guyana,” he stated.

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