Govt issues order to secure land for gas-to-shore project
…under the Acquisition of Lands for Public Purposes Act
The Government of Guyana has issued an order to compulsorily acquire land that will be used to construct the US$900 million gas-to-shore project and lay the gas pipeline from Nouvelle Flanders on the West Coast of Demerara (WCD) to Canal Number One Public Road on the West Bank of Demerara (WBD).
The gazette order, which was made under the hand of Public Works Minister Juan Edghill on August 6, is in keeping with the Acquisition of Lands for Public Purposes Act (Chapter 62:05). In the first instance, it describes the proposed gas pipeline route as public work.
The order also authorises the Commissioner of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC) to inspect the land together with his agents or workmen, for the purposes of surveying the land.
“The Commissioner of the Lands and Surveys Commission, together with his agents, servants or workmen, is authorised to enter upon the said lands for the purpose of surveying or otherwise examining such lands with a view to the acquisition of the whole or part of the said lands for the construction of the public work referred to in clause 2,” the order states.
It also contains details of this land, which has been identified on a plan from the Surveys Division of the GL&SC. Included in these details are the coordinates of the project, which starts at the foreshore of Nouvelle Flanders with a 30-metre corridor.
“The said 30 metres corridor consists of State Reserves and strips of land within the Plantations aforementioned. The strips within Plantations are to be accurately determined by a Cadastral survey,” the order states.
The gas-to-shore project is a game-changing initiative that will see gas from the Liza Field offshore Guyana being pumped onshore to generate power. The main objective of the initiative is to transport sufficient gas from the Stabroek Block’s petroleum operations to supply some 200-250 megawatts of energy to the national grid, leading to a significant reduction in electricity costs.
Exxon has said that around 30 to 35 million cubic feet of natural gas would be required for the gas-to-shore project. Recently-released data from Norwegian research company Rystad Energy had indicated that less than 20 per cent of the 1.8 billion Barrels of Oil Equivalent (BOE) discovered last year was gas.
Jagdeo had pointed out that Guyana was generating energy at nearly 17 to 20 cents per kilowatt/hour. As such, he noted that the project could cut the cost of electricity in the country by more than half. To this end, he had announced that a team has been set up to start negotiations on the gas-to-energy project, with the Government eyeing 2023 to bring the project to fruition.
And indeed, a Gas-to-Shore Project Advisory Committee headed by former National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) Head Winston Brassington was set up soon afterwards to look at various locations for the gas-to-shore project.
A number of factors including geotechnical, geophysical and environmental were examined, and Government had settled on Wales to land the pipelines for the project.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mark Phillips, who has responsibility for the energy sector, had previously said that the Government was looking to produce 200 megawatts of power from the gas-to-shore project by 2024.
President Dr Irfaan Ali had previously said the landing of the gas-to-shore pipeline in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) would lead to “big industrial development taking place there that is linked to not only power generation and a power plant”. He also said the investment on the Demerara River’s shoreside would create massive opportunities and a trickle-down effect.
For now, the Natural Resources Minister said reliable energy remained the top priority of Government, in keeping with the timeline of three years. “It’s a work in progress. Our main focus is the power generation plant and there’s a timeline to that. The President would have made it clear that he wants it done in three years and we’re working towards that timeline.”
He added that Guyana has been settling for mediocrity for too long, but the next five years would be significantly important. Several projects in the pipeline will not just reduce electricity costs, but the cost of living. Heightened production and manufacturing of finished products should also follow.