Cabinet green-lights US$500M onshore oil facility at Berbice

30 December, 2016

– Sovereign Wealth Fund, Petroleum Commission targeted for next year

Government has green-lighted plans to build a US$500M onshore oil and gas facility at Crab Island, as the country moves to capitalize on opportunities that will present itself. Crab Island is located in the Berbice River.

Speaking yesterday during the end-of-year report to media houses, Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, disclosed that the Cabinet of Ministers on Wednesday gave its ‘no objection’ to the establishment of an onshore industrial site to service the off-shore exploration and production activities of the oil companies.

The base, he said, will be located in the area of Crab Island, Berbice, and will be established through the joint efforts of the Ministries of Natural Resources, Public Infrastructure and Business.

Crab Island is on the mouth of the Berbice River, east of the Berbice River Bridge.

“Construction will commence in 2017 and the investments from the private sector, and Government’s infrastructural work and support will be equivalent to USD$500,000,000, which will lead to the creation of approximately 600 direct jobs,” Trotman disclosed yesterday.

With a host of services and facilities to be in demand, the onshore site is expected to provide an array of services including heliports, supplies, maintenance and transportation.

In early September, the Ministry of Natural Resources announced its intention to establish an onshore oil and gas logistics and supplies facility in Guyana. 

According to Trotman, it is believed that the facility is a needed one and is part of the raft of measures intended to ensure that Guyana keeps on the right trajectory in the development of the oil and gas sector.

“Interviews with a significant number of both local and international interested parties were held at the end of October and early November 2016,” he disclosed.

The developments would come after major news last year that US-owned Exxon-Mobil discovered oil in its offshore concessions last May. Since then, more drilling confirmed that the deposits hold in excess of one billion barrels of oil.

Guyana has since been ramping up efforts to build capacity to prepare for oil, with training and a host of other activities.
Exxon-Mobil has signed contracts to build a facility and start production by 2020.

According to Trotman, yesterday, on Wednesday, Cabinet green-lighted several initiatives to be undertaken by the Ministry of Natural Resources in 2017 as the country prepares for the petroleum industry in general and oil in particular.

“To this end Cabinet approved the Ministry’s plans and projects, which includes its policy and legislative agenda comprising: 1) The Upstream Oil and Gas Policy, Revised Petroleum Act and Regulations, 3) Local Content Policy and Regulations, 4) Petroleum Commission Bill, 5) Petroleum Taxation and Fiscal Legislation, Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Regulations and a Bill to provide for Sovereign Wealth/Generational Savings, Stabilization, Infrastructural Social Welfare and Citizens Participation Fund. Of these, the draft Petroleum Commission Bill was shared in early December with stakeholders.”

In relation to the establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund which will hold proceeds of the extractive sector and be used to strategically develop Guyana, the Minister explained that it is the idea that the benefits accrued from the natural resources sector must reach every Guyanese for generations to come.

The framework for a Sovereign Wealth Fund will be developed in 2017.

“This fund will enable us to protect the economy from the volatile nature of natural resource revenues, help grow and modernize the sustainable non-extractive sectors of the economy, and further enhance the capacity of our people. The draft framework for this fund will now be presented to the National Assembly in early 2017.”

Next year as the focus continues to build capacity to prepare Guyana, moves will be made to create a Petroleum Commission.
“As such, the Petroleum Commission’s Bill 3 has been drafted and is ready to be tabled in Parliament. The Bill has been shared with a wide range of stakeholders including, civil society, the private sector and the parliamentary opposition. The Bill paves the way for the establishment of the Petroleum Commission which will become the regulatory body for the oil and gas sector. The Ministry is currently concluding a logo competition for the representative symbol for this Commission. The winner will be announced by mid-January, 2017.”