Gov’t commissions desk study on bringing natural gas to shore

GINA, GUYANA, April 27, 2017

A desk study to determine the options, cost, economics, impact, and key considerations of transporting and utilising natural gas from offshore Guyana for electricity generation has been commissioned by the government.

The announcement was made at post-Cabinet press briefing today, by Minister of State, Joseph Harmon. The Minister noted the proposal for the study was put forward by the Minister of Public Infrastructure and has received Cabinet’s approval.

Consultancy firm Energy Narrative has already begun the eight -week study which seeks to:

– verify natural gas supply projections,

– verify natural gas demands projections,

–  analyse the technical feasibility of the proposed natural gas pipeline,

–  compare the proposed natural gas pipeline with other transportation media,

–  analyse the technical feasibility of existing power generation equipment

– integrating new gas fired electricity generation equipment,

–  analyse the cost to deliver natural gas and estimated impact on electricity prices and   prepare the interim report

Minister Harmon noted the study costs an estimated US$70,000.

Energy Narrative is an experienced company in the energy sector in the Caribbean and understands the challenges of developing natural gas infrastructure, and adapting the electricity sector to accommodate natural gas.

The company has submitted its financial and technical proposals to the government, Minister Harmon noted.

Last evening, Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman told the local business community that the government has decided to bring the natural gas to shore.

The latest information from ExxonMobil, which will be producing Guyana’s first oil, quantifies the available natural gas, which was found along with the oil, at around 30-50 million cubic feet per day.

“That amount can provide, if we choose to go in that direction, a 200 megawatt generation plant,” Minister Trotman said.

However, the government is still to decide how this natural gas will be used. The considerations for the use of the gas include generating electricity, and fuelling the alumina plant if it is resuscitated or used in industry.

“These are decisions that have to be made including the decision as to where we wish to land the gas if there is going to be a pipeline along the coast whether from Georgetown right up to Crab Island,” Minister Trotman pointed out.

Natural gas, while not green, is cleaner than fossil fuel which is currently consumed for electricity generation in Guyana. Minister Trotman had previously noted that Guyana currently imports some 4.7M barrels of fuel yearly. Using natural gas for energy production could dramatically reduce the country’s fuel bill which is also the largest foreign currency bill, the Minister posited.

The business community has welcomed the possibility of cheaper fuel if natural gas is used to generate energy. Last evening, members of the private sector pointed out that the possibility of cheaper fuel would make many manufacturers and service providers more competitive throughout the Caribbean and elsewhere.

By: Tiffny Rhodius