Guyana banking on gas project to boost value-added wood products

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Guyana’s Ministry of Natural Resources expects the operationalization of the Gas-to-Energy project to facilitate a boost in value-added wood products.  

The Gas-to-Energy project is a collaboration between Exxon and the government, to transport offshore natural gas to shore, primarily for power generation. The government plans to slash power costs to consumers by 50% when gas starts flowing in 2025.

“With reduced energy costs, production in the forestry sector is expected to increase, particularly in the value-added wood products segment. Lower operational costs will make Guyanese wood products more competitive,” the ministry said in a June 10 note.

The forestry sector generated US$86.32 million in 2023, supported by US$20.5 million in timber exports. The ministry said 446,000 cubic meters of timber products generated in 2023 is enough to build more than 20,000 homes by United States standards, or more than 25,000 in a Caribbean/Guyana context.

The sector is expected to grow to US$89.68 million in 2024, supported by a 53% increase in timber exports. The ministry presented the expected success in this sector as critical to support the country’s construction boom, which is expected to result in a string of new hospitals, hotels, and schools.

With the expected growth, the country’s deforestation rate is still expected to remain at world-leading lows. In the decade 2010-2020, the ministry said deforestation averaged 0.059%, nine times lower than the global tropical deforestation rate of 0.533. “While forestry is vital for the economy, Guyana’s forests are also crucial in the global fight against climate change. More than 99% of Guyana’s forests remain intact, storing over 19 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent,” the note read.

The ministry touted its “exemplary codes of practice” for timber harvesting, the implementation of reduced-impact logging techniques, strong forest governance and legality practices, and careful pre- and post-harvesting planning. 

“Guyana’s forestry sector is therefore not just an economic driver, but one that shows the government, and its people are conscious of the need for sustainable management at every juncture,” the ministry said. 

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