Vice president blasts naysayers attempting to discredit gas-to-energy project

A section of the media continues to dodge the truth, with the ultimate goal seeming to create division and outrage among Guyanese.

This was expressed by Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jadgeo who was at the time responding to questions related to the Kaieteur News article titled ‘Exxon’s boss contradicts Jagdeo on free gas claim— official says Guyana must pay for the supply of natural gas for energy plant’.

Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

The article detailed comments from the Country Manager of ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge, which indicated that Exxon would be ‘selling’ gas to the Government of Guyana.

The article sought to imply that Dr Jagdeo has misled the public on whether Guyana will be paying for its share of natural gas from the American oil company.

However, Dr Jagdeo clarified the government’s position, noting that the notion is misleading to the public.

“We explained, many times, about the gas-to-energy project, that we are going to own one hundred per cent of it. The power plant, and the NGL facility will process the gas. The government and people of Guyana will own it,” he stated.

The vice president reminded that the finalised plans for the gas-to-energy project went through a rigorous process to be approved, with all steps of that process being disclosed to the public by both himself and President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali.

“We, said we’re developing this jointly, with Exxon. We are financing it out of cost oil. So, we have our share of paying back, because it’s not free. They are putting in some money, and we have to put in some money.

“So, we decided that over 20 years say the pipeline is $1 billion. We don’t know the exact cost as yet. It could be lower. But we’ll put that notion out there, $1 billion, Dr Jagdeo posited.

He stated that while Exxon will be covering 52 per cent of the power plant and NGL facility, that still leaves 48 per cent of the cost to be covered by the government.

Through discussions with Exxon, an agreement was made for the government to repay the remaining 48 per cent value to amortise [gradually write off the cost] the project over 20 years.

“So, it’s not like we’re paying for the gas. We’re just, as a convenience, taking the figure to amortise. That’s why [Routledge] said there is no profit. But it’s reflected almost like a gas payment. But we’re paying zero for the gas. We’re paying to amortise the pipeline. That’s it. It’s easier, commercially, for us to do that, to reflect it commercially,” Dr Jagdeo further explained.

That leaves the question, how will the government source the funds to pay for their share of the project?

Through the operation of an NGL facility, Guyana will be able to produce large quantities of ethane, propane, butane, isobutane, and natural gasoline.

The sale of these to industrial and residential consumers, including as fuel, cooking gas, feedstock for the petrochemical industry, and in the production of motor gasoline by refineries, will generate revenue that will be allotted towards amortising the gas-to-energy project.

“We are financing this whole project from the sale of our liquids, which we’re getting for free. So, we’re practically getting electricity—not just gas—electricity for free. And then we’re selling it at half the current price for 15 cents per kilowatt hour. Publicly, we’ve said this, but they want to complicate it. They want to complicate it because they want to kill it. That’s what APNU is all about because they’re worried that it will have a big political impact,” Dr Jagdeo said.

He also urged Guyanese to reject naysayers who claim that gas will make Guyana ‘impotent’, that the gas-to-energy project will explode, and other ridiculous notions to cause Guyanese to fear developing and utilising the country’s oil.

“We can’t be bothered about them. It’s not arrogance. It’s just that we are fed up with people who try to destroy the future well-being of this country. And many of them have lived their lives. They don’t think about the young people that live their lives. And we are not going to tolerate that. That is not what the PPP, and the Irfaan Ali government, are about. We are going to fight them every single day,” Dr Jagdeo assured.