Major construction ongoing on US$130M deep-water port in Berbice River

Canadian-owned company CGX Energy Incorporated, which only recently started drilling for oil in the Corentyne Block offshore Guyana, has commenced construction on what will be Guyana’s first deep-water port in the Berbice River.
In updating shareholders, CGX explained that its 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 (BDWP).

An artist’s impression of CGX’s deep-water harbour

The construction is being done on 30 acres of land on the eastern bank of the Berbice River, adjacent to Crab Island. At present, work is ongoing on the access road and connecting bridge for the site. Additionally, they are relocating utilities along the Berbice River.
“Construction of the wharf platform and access trestle are currently scheduled to begin in September 2021. The facility is designed to have a wharf platform of 220m length and 30m width, accessed by a 50m trestle,” the company said.
“An approved dredging program is intended to ensure continual unencumbered access to supply and cargo vessels. Depth is targeted to be maintained at a 7 m (23 ft) low-tide draft within the berth area and access channel that leads to the BDWP pier,” the company said in its update.
It was further explained that GCIE owns and operates a 16 acres laydown yard in Berbice at Bramfield along the main Corentyne Highway. This location is currently being used as a logistics base and will also service the port, which is located 3.2 km away.

Map of Crab Island

The company further explained that the capital cost for the project is currently estimated at US$70 million. It is expected, however, that when further expansion to construct heavy lift and fabrication facilities are done the cost will reach as high as US$130 million.
“Work is on schedule for the operationalisation of the offshore oil and gas support shore base by mid-2022 and for the operationalisation of containerised cargo, agricultural cargo and specialised cargo terminal by the end of 2023,” the company explained.
The CGX deep-water harbour project has been in the works since 2010, when the company secured a 50-year lease on the property. But it wasn’t until late 2020 that GCIE began advertising for a number of senior positions related to the deep-water harbour project, including the positions of Project Manager, Civil Engineer and Health, Safety and Environmental Officer.
Through the construction of its deep-water port, CGX has said it hopes to support Guyana’s rapidly growing oil and gas sector, as well as agricultural exports, container imports and exports. In addition, the deep-water harbour is expected to facilitate cruise ship docking and regional shipping.
The company has said it would construct a 91-metre x 30-metre wharf platform and a 49-metre x 12-metre approach trestle, which would be able to accommodate two platform supply vessels. In addition, it plans to build a compacted port site with warehousing and tubular storage.
It also has to dredge the access channel and basin offshore the wharf, as well as construct access roads and bridges and implement flood protection features for the site. The company had set itself a December 2021 target for the facility to be operational.
A major plus to the project is that it will stem the outsourcing of logistical services to Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) which is geographically close to Guyana and experienced enough in the oil and gas industry to snag work that should have been done locally.
But CGX, which has experienced a number of project delays over the years, was forced to relinquish 24.96 acres of land last year at the estuary of the Berbice river, in the vicinity of where the project is being undertaken.
Back in May 2019, the former Government had approved a Strategic Joint Venture between CGX Energy Inc and Frontera Energy Corporation to farm into two shallow-water offshore Petroleum Prospecting Licences for the Corentyne and Demerara Blocks – both of which are adjacent to ExxonMobil’s Stabroek Block, where multiple discoveries have been made.
CGX, which was given a November 2021 deadline to drill its first well in the Corentyne Block by the Government of Guyana, only spudded its first exploration well last week – the Kawa-1 well.