Opposition MP breaks ranks with party to support Govt’s gas-to-energy project

– says input from Opposition, other stakeholders will benefit project

Member of Parliament (MP) Jermaine Figueira, who is an executive of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) and the Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, has thrown his support behind the Government’s transformational gas-to-energy project.
In a missive, Figueira spoke about the potential benefits of the project to transform the lives of Guyanese and noted that with input from stakeholders, including the Opposition, many Guyanese will benefit from it.

Opposition MP Jermaine Figueira

In so doing, Figueira is breaking ranks with his party’s public stance of criticising and even opposing the project. During a press conference in October of last year when he was accompanied by the party’s economic advisor Elson Low, Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton had even claimed that the project was “not viable” based on studies he did not provide or quote from.
According to Figueira, however, the gas-to-shore project will be a game-changer for a country badly in need of reliable and affordable energy for domestic consumption and industrial growth. According to Figueira, the gas-to-shore project can provide this and also make Guyana a major player in the Region when it comes to energy, in terms of the country’s strategic location to other countries in the Region.
“This project has the potential to help eliminate the country’s heavy reliance on imported diesel and other fossil fuels, which are expensive, and its production emits greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.”
“This gas-to-shore project will likely have the ability to generate significant revenue opportunities for the country, boosting its economic growth, and making it a major player in the South American continent and within the Caribbean Community (Caricom),” Figueira wrote.

The gas-to-shore project

According to Figueira, the gas-to-shore project has a significant advantage when it comes to providing a power supply reliable enough to end the frequent blackouts. He pointed out that Guyana presently gets most of its power from diesel generators, which are both unreliable and costly.
“This has long constrained economic development in Guyana, resulting in significant costs to small businesses, respective industries, and ordinary people. The ready access to a reliable, constant energy supply will allow Guyana to develop new industries and maintain existing ones while attracting many foreign direct investments that demand constant and affordable sources of energy.”
“The gas-to-shore will be a catalyst for the growth and the introduction of other new industries, adding value to our many raw materials in many parts of the country. Making manufacturing more cost-effective will aid in the creation of permanent jobs for our people,” Figueira said.
It also has the potential to significantly enhance the transportation system in an environmentally friendly way, while also facilitating growth in key sectors like food and agriculture. This will all aid in attracting foreign investment and growing Guyana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Further, the gas-to-shore project will significantly increase Guyana’s revenue generation capacity by leveraging its natural gas reserves to produce petrochemicals and other industrial products.”
“The planned expansion of power production capacity will undoubtedly create excess gas, which, as a country, we can partner with local and foreign companies to commercialise products based on the natural gas produced,” Figueira further said.

Regional supplier
He pointed out that Guyana could have the potential to be a major supplier of nitrogen fertiliser in the Region, bringing Guyana closer to being the food basket of Caricom. He also hypothesised that a methanol production plant could be set up, producing chemicals such as formalin that could be converted into disinfectant and paint and then sold.
“Another product Guyana can benefit from is Liquefied Natural gas (LNG), which can also be exported. The excess gas produced can also be liquefied and exported, providing additional revenue to the country.”
“Guyana needs to tap into the growing demand for LNG in the emerging economies of Asia while also catering to regional markets such as North America, in the process becoming a significant player in the LNG market and establishing the country as an energy hub,” he also said.
He also advised that beyond Caricom, Guyana can leverage the gas-to-shore project to cement its position as an energy producer for the South American continent. Here he referenced Guyana’s already established partnership with Brazil. This partnership, he said, could be leveraged to transport natural gas to Brazil and beyond.
“This project coupled with the inputs of the main Opposition, civil society and the private sector can aid the Government, Guyana and its people to be well positioned to be not just be a major beneficiary from its resource but a significant player in the very near future in other parts of the world as a major player in the energy supply industry,” Figueira said.
The gas-to-shore project includes the construction of an integrated Natural Gas Liquid (NGL) plant and the 300-megawatt (MW) combined cycle power plant at Wales on the West Bank of Demerara (WBD). In Budget 2023, the gas-to-energy project received a $43.3 billion allocation. This allocation is in addition to the $24.6 billion injected into the start-up of the transformational project.
The scope of Guyana’s gas-to-energy project also consists of the construction of 225 kilometres of pipeline from the Liza field in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana, where Exxon and its partners are currently producing oil.
It features approximately 200 kilometres of a subsea pipeline offshore that will run from Liza Destiny and Liza Unity floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels in the Stabroek Block to the shore. Upon landing on the West Coast Demerara shore, the pipeline would continue for approximately 25 kilometres to the NGL plant at Wales, West Bank Demerara.