Natural gas will play a critical role in energy transition – Regional Energy Director

With the threat and fatal effects of climate change and the world shifting away from fossil fuels and renewable energy, General Electric’s (GE) Regional Product Director John Ingram has highlighted that natural gas will play a critical role in this transition to cleaner energy.

“Gas power is really seen today as the key factor in moving in the transition. The US power sector reduced its emissions by 33%. The US was one of the largest CO2 producers in the past 10 years. It is now amongst the top five countries in reducing emissions and that was due to the use of gas. Moving away from coal and moving towards gas allows you to bring in more renewable power. More and more we see gas as an enabler to renewable power,” Ingram explained during his presentation to the International Energy Conference and Expo held at the Marriott Hotel, Georgetown on Thursday.

General Electric’s (GE) Regional Product Director John Ingram

The Regional Energy Director referred to Kauai, an island in the Central Pacific, part of the Hawaiian archipelago. He pointed out that this island has the largest solar penetration in the world because of a system that relied on gas.

“They operate like five to six hours per day on 100% solar, and they can only do that because they have a system that gets there… Gas is the only source which you can have where you want, when you want and this is the difficulty in integrating renewables into the system because you don’t always have the sun and you don’t always have the wind, you don’t always have hydro… Gas is a fundamental enabler of renewables,” Ingram articulated.

Ingram’s presentation goes hand-in-hand with the government vision of integrating renewable energy into the grid but also utilising natural gas as that transition fuel. The government has already invited interested parties to invest in its US$900 million gas-to-energy project Wales Development Zone (WDZ). A public notice from the Ministry of Natural Resources states the WDZ was selected as the landing facility for the pipeline, following the consideration of more than 20 potential locations.

The pipeline, which would end in the WDZ, will measure some 225 kilometers from the Liza oil field, where the natural gas is produced.

The project will see the establishment of a gas processing plant (GPP) and a natural gas liquids (NGL) facility, capable of producing at least 4,000 barrels per day, including the fractionation (or separating out) of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Preliminary Artist’s Impression of Natural Gas Plant (Source: EEPGL)

The government said a power plant will be established to generate 150 MW, with an additional 150 MW in a second phase, and that an industrial park will be set up to comprise industries that could use gas, steam and/or electricity

ExxonMobil’s local affiliate, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) has guaranteed the government a minimum of 50 million standard cubic feet of gas per day (mmscfd) will be transported through the pipeline by 2024. The pipeline will have a maximum capacity of 130 mmscfd.

The gas-to-energy project which is likely to come on stream by late 2024, is expected to reduce Guyana’s energy sector emissions. The project will also cut electricity costs by more than half. The cost has long been regarded by the private sector as prohibitive to investments. Hence, the Government expects the gas-to-energy project to revolutionise, to significantly improve the ease of doing business in Guyana.