Exxon’s third development project on hold; Gov’t asks Canada to help with review

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ExxonMobil’s third development project offshore Guyana is on hold as the People’s Progressive Party Government awaits a review of the Payara Field Development Plan (FDP) before granting approval.

President Irfaan Ali at the sidelines of an event on Tuesday told the media that he convened a meeting with various stakeholders and informed them that the Government will review what was done so far.

“So we are in the process of engaging an international expert to do that review of the work done so far,” President Ali noted, adding that it is in accordance with the PPP’s campaign promise to review certain aspects of the petroleum industry.

“We’ve asked for this review and we have to await the review,” he added.

The Government is still to source the money to fund the review along with the expert but has reached out to Canada for assistance.

“Well we haven’t identified a person, what we have to do first of all is secure financing, see where financing is, there is a lot of technical assistance in the sector, we’ve approached the Canadian High Commission for example for help in relation to sourcing someone, getting someone, so that is where we are,” President Ali said.

ExxonMobil submitted the FDP in September 2019 following which the former Government embarked on a review and approval has been pending since December 2019.

On May 4, 2020, Director of the Department of Energy Dr Mark Bynoe said that the review was fairly advanced with some preliminary issues raised with the Operator.

With a new Government in place, the responsibility for the energy sector was taken up by the President’s office.

President Ali said on Tuesday while the day to day operation will be handled by the Ministry of Natural Resources and its sub-agencies, the policy governing the sector will be handled by the Office of the President.

Once it gets on-stream, the Payara project will ramp up oil production to 750,000 barrels of oil per day.

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