One day after Rudolf Elias, Suriname’s State oil company’s Managing Director announced that that country’s oil refinery is not built to handle the type of oil extracted from Guyana, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman has said that no decision has been taken with respect to where Guyana’s oil would be refined.
Trotman’s statement comes against the backdrop of an interview Elias had with Ware Tijd, an online newspaper in Suriname. Elias said, “the refinery is not built to handle the type of oil that is extracted in Guyana. Their oil is a much lighter quality. Our refinery was built for the heavy oil that we have landed here in Suriname”.
He noted that even if Suriname does its own discoveries in its deep sea area, the type of oil that will be of the same light quality as in Guyana. “It will also not be processed in our refinery,” Elias adds.
As such, the Natural Resources Ministry in a statement on Tuesday said that during an engagement on March 2, Minister Trotman had pointed out that Government Ministers were informed on February 28 that Suriname had indicated a willingness to do refining for Guyana since their refinery is operating below full capacity.
The statement added that no decision has been made in terms of where Guyana’s oil would be refined.
According to the statement, Trotman had stated that Cabinet had approved a consultancy whose report will guide the Government on the way forward on the matter of an oil refinery for the country.
It further reminded that the Minister revealed that there had also been some recent overtures from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for the refining of Guyana’s oil, and said he expects that a formal proposal to be made from Trinidad and Tobago in this regard.
Trotman made the point that the current below optimum operating positions of Suriname and Trinidad bring into stark focus the need for Guyana to be careful in considering whether or not to have a refinery.
Further, the release pointed to a question which was asked about whether Trinidad or Suriname would have had to do any retrofitting to be able to refine the grade of oil Guyana will be producing.
“By virtue of this question being asked, and answer given, it is clear that there are still unknowns about the technical aspects of the potential refining arrangement between Guyana and its neighbours.”