‘We want to move from proving reserves to developing those reserves’ – VP Jagdeo

Developing countries have the right to explore and develop their oil and gas resources, pushing against a global doctrine which is being promoted by some parts of the world.

Such policy is being pushed by the Secretary General of the United Nations and several developed countries, who believe that all oil and gas development should be restricted to existing producers only.

Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo addressing the International Energy Conference

For context, the doctrine claims that new development of these resources would be stranded and that investing in them would not achieve net zero carbon emissions.

“Countries like Guyana and Suriname and many countries in Africa they have the right now to develop these resources…,” Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo underscored Tuesday, during his presentation on day one of Guyana’s International Energy Conference and Expo 2023, at the Marriott Hotel.  

He said Guyana is at the forefront of this advocacy with credibility, as it has consistently supported a 1.5-degree target above pre-industrial levels ─ a global carbon pricing policy, and the removal of fossil fuel subsidies.

This is despite being a carbon-negative country, even with 10 FPSOs operating in Guyana, the nation would still remain carbon-negative, Dr Jagdeo explained.

He said the country has recently passed local content legislation, which the oil and gas company, among others, were not pleased with, but it has not resulted in shutting down operations, and the industry still thrived, along with more local businesses.

In fact, Guyana has faced challenges in renewing environmental permits and implementing a carbon tax for flaring, but it has been successful in making these changes with the support of the companies operating in the country.

The PPP/C Government is focused on developing its gas-to-energy project and ensuring that the highest standards of regulation are in place for the safety and benefit of the people.

The country’s gas-to-energy project involves the development and utilisation of natural gas resources for domestic power generation as well as other industrial and commercial uses.

Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo addressing the International Energy Conference

Moreover, the stable undertaking forms part of Guyana’s efforts to tap into its significant offshore natural gas reserves and maximise the benefits for the country and its people.

“We [government] want more explorations, we want us to move from proving reserves to developing those reserves, and we are working to facilitate that, not compromising in terms of safety and due diligence, but acting in a manner that is not excessively bureaucratic,” the vice president stated.

The energy policy is focused on promoting the rapid development of the local oil and gas sector, more exploration, and transforming these resources into financial resources for the country’s development, even if it means diversifying the economy.

Dr Jagdeo said it is important to see progression in a stable government with clear goals, and Guyana is determined to make changes that effectively serve its purpose.