The construction of the $600 million shore base facility at Vreed-en-Hoop on the West Coast of Demerara (WCD) could get underway soon following the approval of the environmental permit by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday.
An environmental permit, according to the EPA Act, can be issued for a project but subjected to conditions which are reasonably necessary to protect human health and the environment. Essentially, it allows the developers to engage in a specific activity (in this case, develop this project) with certain conditions.
The permit also guides the hours of construction, as well as the authorisation protocol for use of the land. According to a press release from the Developer of the Port of Vreed-en-Hoop Project, NRG Holdings Incorporated, the project will see an investment of up to US$600 million by the 100-percent Guyanese-owned consortium.
Included in this project are an offshore terminal, a dry dock facility, a fabrication yard, offshore components, umbilical preparation and spooling yard, administrative buildings to house offices and modernised logistics centre; warehousing, area for a helipad, a wharf, berths, and a dry dock.
This facility will occupy some 400 hectares of coastal land and it is expected that approximately 150 to 200 people will be hired during its construction while 50 to 100 people will be employed for the basic operation and maintenance of the base port facilities indicated in phase one.
According to the investors, the facility will also see services previously provided out of Trinidad now being carried out in Guyana, with the local economy benefiting from employment, duties and taxes, ancillary goods and services and capacity-building.
The Port of Vreed-en-Hoop project, the release said, is a direct result of opportunities that are arising from the development of the oil and gas sector and its demands.
With the issuance of the permit, the developer will now be required to submit an Environmental and Social Management Plan to the EPA within four months. This plan will outline the mitigation measures for any impact that the project will have within the proposed area and surrounding communities.
Meanwhile, according to the release, Nicholas Deygoo-Boyer, one of the partners within the consortium, said that the project will not service the oil and gas industry only but will also cater to all sectors that require a port facility.
He was quoted as saying: “We aim for this project to be transformative, not only for the oil and gas sector, but also for the ordinary person on the street as we seek to reduce shipping costs with this new container terminal.”
It was also stated that Azruddin Mohamed of Hadi’s World Incorporated, another partner in the consortium, expressed appreciation that the government is creating an enabling business environment, allowing for the project to create employment for thousands of Guyanese.
And, secretary of the consortium, Andron Alphonso was quoted as saying: “NRG Holdings Inc. is committed to pursuing this development in a manner that is beneficial to all stakeholders.
“We want to ensure that as we contribute to local content development and provide opportunities for Guyanese in the oil and gas sector, we also do so in a way that is also responsible and sustainable.”
Alphonso also underscored that the project must not only be beneficial to the investors but to the citizens in the surrounding communities and other stakeholders as well.