Regional Energy Strategy being considered by CARICOM member states – President Ali

His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali said that discussions are underway with several CARICOM leaders on developing a Regional Energy Strategy to highlight opportunities and to provide a clear direction on the way forward.

The Head of State made this disclosure as he delivered remarks at the opening ceremony of the Suriname Energy, Oil and Gas Summit this afternoon in Paramaribo.

His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali addressing the second Suriname Energy, Oil and Gas Summit & Exhibition (SEOGS) underway in the Dutch- speaking republic.

“We are proposing to move rapidly on a Regional Energy Strategy to look at all the potential areas for investment, to bring investors together, bring the markets together and to see how, as quickly and transparently as possible, we can unlock those opportunities.”

This strategy, he added, will allow investors to have a “fair and clear” understanding of the policy and energy needs of the region. 

President Ali emphasised that the potential of energy security in the Region is “undoubtedly” enormous.

“Just imagine if we get the capital resources to do the exploration work and move into production; not only the contribution we can make regionally but the position we can take globally—we can reposition this Region globally”.

 STRATEGIC APPROACH

To achieve this, he noted, requires bold decision making, a common strategic approach and working in union on policy formulation.

Reference was made to the energy crisis and global inequality, which has been exacerbated due to the Covid-19 pandemic, invasion of Ukraine and supply chain issues.

He drew attention to the rising oil prices as well as the 243% increase in natural gas prices and the need for the region to navigate through the challenges.

“These are the realities that we face together as we confront these challenges, so in the midst of this global crisis, CARICOM members like Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, with the possibility of natural gas, we have to come together to advance a solution not only for the region, but one that incorporates northern Brazil especially.”

NEEDED CHANGES

He called for the removal of bureaucratic delays and the need to advance the project with dynamism and to work on unlocking the natural gas potential which can contribute to the rebalancing on the supply side for the Region.

In addition, he explained that CARICOM nations cannot be locked out of the energy conversation as the potential that exists for renewables and for oil and gas is tremendous.

The resources, he reminded, will allow leaders to deliver to the people of their countries and the Region, better education, better health care, and better infrastructure among other benefits.

“We have to give them, the future generation, a better shot at life….That is why oil and gas cannot be looked at in a one-dimensional way. We have to put together a development strategy that shows how the rest of the economy will be built out from the revenues that come from oil and gas. And that is why the Region is advancing a very elaborate and ambitious food strategy. We have to be able to fund this strategy—our climate resilience strategy.”

He pointed to the importance of exploiting the resources from the Oil and Gas Sector in a safe, responsible manner— a manner in which countries can continue to advance their credentials on the environment and in a manner where sustainable, long-lasting development is secured for the people of the region.

President of the Republic of Suriname, His Excellency Chandrikapersad Santokhi, in his remarks, said strong strategic alliances combined with the generation of cheap energy will ignite new industries, create regional opportunities and guarantee prosperous lives for those in the region while adding sustainable revenue opportunities.

After the opening ceremony, President Ali took a tour of the exhibits, where he interacted with representatives from a number of companies, including those from Suriname and a few from Guyana. The 2022 Suriname Energy, Oil and Gas Summit is carded from June 27-30. 

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