GUYANA: Use LNG ISO tank containers. Exxon’s gas-to-shore pipeline is the costlier option – PNCR

PNCR’s Gary Best

“Another PPP white elephant like the Skeldon Sugar factory, the fibre optic cable project, and more recently, Enmore Packaging Plant”.

Citing reckless usage of taxpayers’ dollars by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government in the past, the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) is calling for an urgent review of the proposed pipeline, to transport natural gas discovered off the coast of Guyana to the Wales Development Zone, West Bank Demerara (WBD) in the administration’s highly touted Gas to Energy Project.

During a press conference hosted by the Party on Tuesday, PNCR member Gary Best said, it has become clear that the government intends to stubbornly forge ahead, ignoring the several red flags raised by independent analysts and technical experts with regard to the project’s costs, design, and viability.       

Presently, the Gas to Energy Project carries a price tag of in excess of US$1.3 billion and government has already set aside more than US$20 million towards the massive energy project, which is expected to add 300 megawatts (MW) of power to the national grid. To this end, he pointed to one example of an alternative method that can be used, which in addition to be being less costly can also be more environmentally friendly.       

The total project cost includes works to be carried out by oil-giant ExxonMobil for the laying of the pipeline and conducting of surveys to the tune of some US$900M.

In this regard, Best said, “in our own consultations with experts, the PNCR is convinced that there exist more viable and less costly options in utilizing Guyana’s natural gas resources. In particular, the use of ISO containers to ferry Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) to shore, is a much less expensive and more environmentally friendly transportation method.”

Liquid Natural Gas (LNG} tanker

As such, he said “we are advised that LNG ISO tank containers are seen in the industry as the easiest and most flexible means of conveyance to transport gases”.

Additionally, Best reasoned that Guyana would also stand a better chance at exporting its natural gas with this option, since the pipelines would limit the amount of gas being brought to shore.

He explained saying, “instead of piping the gas, using pipelines that are laid on the sea bed to shore, the gas is moved to a containerized ship built specifically for this purpose and then it comes to shore”

According to the PNCR member, “…just like how a container leaves a ship and goes on a truck that is built for a container, then the container comes off the ship and goes on a truck that is built for that purpose and it can go to the power plant”.

While providing the International Energy Conference and Expo last week with an update on the Gas to Energy Project, Winston Brassington had revealed that the gas to be had from the Stabroek Block is barely enough to be used at the gas fired power plant with the remainder being able to go towards the production of about 3,700 barrels of LNG used for cooking.

As a consequence, the party urged the PPP to “immediately, consult, discuss, and relook at the pipeline proposal in the light of the existence of a superior method of utilizing our nation’s huge natural gas resource” as the PNCR believes that the savings from the project can significantly lift the living standards of the poor and struggling families.

Best was keen to note during the media engagement that the incumbent administration has, through reckless spending, caused Guyanese to carry the burden of billions of dollars in debt through “monumental fiascos” such as the Skeldon Sugar factory, the fibre optic cable project, and more recently, Enmore Packaging Plant.

On Friday, the former Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson argued that the Wales’ gas-to-shore project will amount to a white elephant, as it has now been confirmed that the 50 million cubic feet of gas piped to shore will only be sufficient to power the generating sets and a small LPG plant rather than be used for fertiliser (Ammonia, Urea and other agro-processing byproducts), solid waste pyrolysis and even a cement plant “as was assured by the PPP/C government.”

He reasoned, “Guyana will be expending over US$1.4B and counting (Exxon–US$900M + GOG US$504M) for 250MW generating sets and posits, “this is an incredible amount, considering the fact that the current cost for 1MW of generating power is approximately US$1M; That’s correct; 250MW of natural gas-powered generating sets can be procured for approximately US$250M – yet, the Government is paying US$1.4B.

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