The Guyana Government is slated to meet with representatives from the Canadian company, CGX Energy Inc, next week to intensify discussions on the deep-water port facility that is being constructed in Berbice, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).
This is according to Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat, when contacted for an update on CGX’s Berbice Deep-Water Port (BDWP) project.
Previously, the Government had expressed concerns over the slow pace of the project and had given the company up to September month-end to submit a plan on how it intends to move forward with the port facility.
Minister Bharrat disclosed to Guyana Times that he will be meeting with the company representatives early next week to have “general discussions” on the project.
The CGX deep-water harbour project has been in the works since 2010.
CGX’s subsidiary, Grand Canal Industrial Estates Inc (GCIE), has been engaged in civil works related to the construction of the US$130 million Berbice Deep-Water Port, which intends to serve as an offshore supply base for the oil and gas industry, and as a multi-purpose terminal cargo handling base to service agricultural import/export, containerised and specialised cargo.
Initially, it was expected that the offshore oil and gas support shore base would be operationalised by the third quarter of 2022, and the cargo terminal by the end of 2023.
However, in its financial statements in August, CGX informed shareholders that it would be unable to meet the 2022 deadline and that a revised schedule for completion is being discussed with the contractor.
“As a result of certain delays, the Company believes it is unlikely that the offshore supply base of the port will be fully operational in Q4, 2022 as previously envisioned. A revised schedule for completion of the offshore supply base of the port is being discussed with the contractor and the Company anticipates providing an updated timeline to shareholders and stakeholders in due course,” CGX said in its Second Quarter Financial Statement released on August 9.
Given its slow-paced operation, the Guyana Government had CGX relinquish two oil exploration blocks offshore – Demerara and Berbice – to the State, so that the company can focus on operations in the Corentyne Block as well as the deep-water port facility.
President Dr Irfaan Ali has already indicated that Guyana has gotten serious interest from Abu Dhabi Ports, a United Arab Emirates-based company that deals in industrial zones and logistics, in establishing a deep-water facility in Berbice.
In fact, a technical team from the company visited in September 2021 and compiled technical information on the project.
While in Dubai last October, the Guyanese Head of State also met with officials from Abu Dhabi Ports known as Khalifa Port during which they had extensive and in-depth discussions on the possibility of developing a deep-water harbour link to Brazil.
“The interest is great in this project… And they are looking at a modern state-of-the-art port facility operated with cutting-edge technology, focusing on efficiency, safety and security… Their initial assessment is one of great optimism. That’s how they described it. They believe that this a project that can happen; that is a project that is viable. They are now working on the nitty-gritty, the finer details in terms of this project,” the President told reporters at the subsequent press conference.
Meanwhile, during President Ali’s meeting in Dubai with officials from Abu Dhabi Ports, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, who is also the owner, operator, developer, and regulator of Abu Dhabi’s maritime infrastructure and Khalifa Industrial Zone (KIZAD), had said they are very serious about investing in Guyana.
“We are serious about Guyana, and I promise you we passed the time of thinking, now we are in the implementation stage. So, what you will see today is the capability of Abu Dhabi Ports,” Al Shamisi said to the Guyanese leader following a tour of Abu Dhabi Ports’ ultra-modern temperature-controlled vaccine storage warehouse facility.
President Ali had emphasised to the group that his Government is willing to facilitate the project by creating incentives and by ensuring that investments made are feasible for all parties involved.
“We are ready to work with you on having that deep-water port ready for not only Guyana but for the region. And for the most important strategic positioning for the UAE in South America, the Caribbean—in Latin America. I think we could just think about it as an upscaled Panama [Canal] development,” the Head of State told the officials.
Moreover, the President had indicated at the time had Guyana wanted to build a strong partnership with Abu Dhabi Ports to create a new logistics hub for the UAE that will connect business opportunities in South America, Central America, the Caribbean, North America, and West Africa.
In addition to Abu Dhabi Ports, President Ali told the Stabroek News in August that there is also interest from other investors in the deep-water port in Berbice. These include Saudi Arabia, Qatar and a local consortium of port operators as well.