By Devina Samaroo
Government has expressed an interest in bringing natural gas from the oil reservoirs offshore via pipelines for cheaper power generation and ExxonMobil has indicated a willingness to embark on the project.
The Company’s Senior Director of Public and Government Affairs, Kimberly Brasington told News Room during a recent interview that ExxonMobil and government representatives are in discussion about the project.
“The Liza field is an oil field, however, there is natural gas that is associated with that oil so when we produce it, we’re going to bring it up onto the ship and we’re going to separate out the natural gas and the oil and there’s an opportunity to bring some of that natural gas to shore and realise the country’s resource,” she stated.
She added that, “we’re very much open to the idea” and that ExxonMobil and a number of government representatives and private sector officials are discussing the matter.
Brasington said ExxonMobil is committed to making the idea a reality but is taking its cue from the government.
Reports are that there is sufficient natural gas in the reserves to supply the government-owned electricity generation company.
The usage of the natural gas could result in lower costs for the Guyana Power and Light and ultimately cheaper energy for consumers. If the green light is given for the project, ExxonMobil explained that it will only be responsible for bringing the pipeline onshore and the government will then have to contract a third party to develop a mechanism for the transportation of the resource to its final destination.
Brasington explained if the government goes ahead with the project, the associated costs would be separate from the current oil production, however, she noted if government disregards the initiative, ExxonMobil will just pump the gas back into the reservoirs.
“At this point, for Liza phase one, there is not enough natural gas for it to be a commercial commodity that we would sell outside of Guyana. So the amount of gas we have really makes the most sense to bring it onshore to use it. Otherwise, we would just inject it back into the reservoir and it would help to increase oil production,” she stated.
The Stabroek News had reported that if the government pursues this project, Norway will put a hold on Guyana’s access to the US$80 million in payments – which was originally allocated as equity for the Amaila Falls Hydropower project.
After the Amaila Project was shelved, Norway agreed that the money would be hinged on the country’s ability to work towards a clean and renewable energy. The Stabroek News reported however that the Minister of State Joseph Harmon was optimistic of convincing Norway that natural gas, though not renewable energy, is cleaner and cheaper compared to crude oil.