First oil is on the horizon in Guyana and all around the country, citizens are beginning to feel a sense of renewed hope. Never before in the history of this country was there so much optimism and excitement as it relates to our development potential. It is now up to our political leaders, the business community, civil society and citizens themselves to work in harmony so as to ensure that all this talk about oil and the huge potential it has for our development could really translate into actually improving the quality of life for every Guyanese and those who decide to make this place their home.
On Thursday, the Liza Destiny, Guyana’s first oil production vessel arrived in the Stabroek Block after travelling nearly 11,000 nautical miles for 42 days from the Keppel Shipyard in Singapore. The arrival of the ship is seen as another significant step forward, as Guyana inches closer to becoming an oil-producing nation. More importantly, as stated by Energy Department Director Dr Mark Bynoe, the arrival of the Liza Destiny should stimulate a new spirit of nationalism, pride and expectation among citizens.
This Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel is a significant component of the Liza Phase 1 development, which involves four undersea drill centres with 17 production wells. The vessel has a production capacity of 120,000 barrels of oil per day and an overall storage volume of 1.6 million barrels.
Liza Phase 1 remains on track to achieve first oil by the first quarter of 2020. It will produce up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day at peak rates utilising the Liza Destiny FPSO. With 13 lucrative discoveries offshore Guyana, ExxonMobil anticipates a potential for at least five FPSO vessels producing more than 750,000 barrels of oil per day by 2025.
Phase 2 of the Liza development is expected to start up in mid-2022 and will develop approximately 600 million barrels of oil through the “Liza Unity”, the second FPSO in the series. ExxonMobil had stated that a total of six drill centres are planned, as well as approximately 30 wells, including 15 productions, nine water injection and six gas injection wells.
The fact is Guyana is now considered a country with massive opportunities and everyone must position themselves to benefit from the sector. Citizens should not allow themselves to be distracted by the constant haggling between our political leaders. In fact, they should put pressure on those in authority to ensure that the relevant mechanisms are in place that would see accountability and transparency in the management of the sector and that Guyanese are allowed to benefit from the opportunities that are available.
There are still many challenges confronting the nation; for example, quite a number of persons are living below the poverty line, public infrastructure is not up to standard, social services such as health and education need to be improved, many young people cannot afford to further their studies or acquire specialised training, high unemployment, constant power outages and so on.
Since Guyana will be heading into elections campaign mode soon, it is an opportune time to remind our politicians that citizens are wary of political instability and the negative impact it has on the economy and to national life in general. Like many others, we hope that GECOM will get its act together and make the tough decisions that ought to be made. A date for elections should be set soon to allow citizens to elect a government of their choice. We should demonstrate to the world that we can campaign and conduct elections peacefully, and when the results are out, we can then work towards achieving our development objectives as one.
With oil almost here, we are convinced that this country has a bright future ahead, but our leaders must look beyond partisan politics and work together in the nation’s interest. It is very unfortunate that in spite of being blessed with an abundance of natural resources, the political rancour we have experienced over the years has caused our development to be stifled. Guyana has another opportunity to become a wonderful country with unlimited opportunities; a place where young people would be happy to stay and help in its development, it is hoped that our leaders will not squander it.