The government has received a total of 18 Expressions of Interest in the establishment of an onshore oil and gas facility. Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, made the announcement at a press briefing today, at Cara Lodge, Georgetown.
“Government is looking to enter into a private public partnership where government has equity in whatever onshore facility is established and we can then ensure that Guyanese can benefit,” Trotman said.
According to the minister, the majority of the interests are from local companies while nine are from international companies. He said that later this month and into early November, the companies would be making presentations to the Ministry of Natural Resources. “We would like to give both the local and foreign companies an equal right to make presentations,” Trotman said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry has commissioned a study to determine whether it is economically feasible to set up an oil refinery.
“We have commissioned a study and I hope and expect that before the end of the year, government will be guided from an economic standpoint whether or not we should have a refinery, whether or not government should have a stake in such a venture or whether it should be left to the private sector on its own,” Trotman said.
The minister said that the government would withhold any pronouncement on the establishment of an oil refinery until the study is completed. Chatham House will provide the expertise to undertake the study.
As Guyana develops the oil and gas sector, draft legislation on the complete overhaul of the Petroleum Act and the regulations that accompany it will be made available at the end of 2016.
Draft legislation for the establishment of a new Petroleum Commission, regulations for local content, and for health and safety for the environment are also expected to be presented later this year. Trotman said that consultations on these legislations will begin in 2017.
The government continues to receive international assistance for the development of the oil and gas sector. In November, Chatham House will lead a two day seminar on oil and gas development and on the accounting and financial aspects of the sector.