‘Maximise local content, reduce flaring’ – Ghanaian President tells Guyana at opening of energy conf.

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By Vishani Ragobeer

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Guyana is still developing its nascent oil and gas sector and Ghanaian President Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo has advised the country to maximise the number of Guyanese involved in the sector but also take key environmental precautions such as reducing flaring offshore.

President of Guyana Dr Irfaan Ali arrives at the Guyana Marriott Hotel for the 2022 International Energy Conference (Photo: Keno George/February 15, 2022)

“To ensure energy sustainability, it is critical that we manage socio-economic and environmental benefits,” the Ghanaian President said at the opening of the 2022 International Energy Conference being held at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown.

And to do so, the President offered more than 10 suggestions to the Guyanese authorities as part of his opening remarks.

He urged that Guyana strive towards guaranteeing that equitable development is facilitated through the massive oil revenues and by exploiting natural gas resources.

This, he posited, can be done through “proper legislative guidelines” and by ensuring that the petroleum revenues are used efficiently in the national budget for key developmental priorities.

The Ghanaian President also emphasised that Guyana must continue to pursue “ambitious environmental goals”. Already, Guyanese authorities have maintained that there will be a strong focus on safeguarding the country’s massive forest resources – which are about the size of England – and help protect against the harmful effects of climate change.

While the production of oil and gas offshore Guyana has allowed the country to garner significant revenues that are expected to be used for the country’s development, some environmental concerns have been raised.

One particular concern has been ExxonMobil’s excess flaring of natural gas from its Liza Destiny oil ship at the Liza Phase 1 Development. This excess flaring is harmful to the environment but the company has been paying the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) US $45 per tonne of excess Carbon Dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emitted.

Despite this charge, the Ghanaian President stressed that Guyana should minimise the flaring of natural gas- cognisant of the harmful environmental implications.

Importantly, too, the Ghanaian President also suggested that Guyana “maximise benefits by using local resources and companies in all facets of the value chain”.

Earlier in his remarks, he explained that Ghana enacted a Local Content law that facilitated a mandatory involvement of Ghanaians – professionals and companies – in all areas of oil and gas.

Prime Minister of Guyana Mark Phillips (left) and Vice President of Guyana Dr Bharrat Jagdeo with other officials of the Guyana government at the 2022 International Energy Conference (Photo: Keno George/February 15, 2022)

“It is not about nationalisation but a vehicle to partnering investors with locals… (and) ensuring social harmony and cohesion,” the President stressed.

Ghana started producing oil in 2010, decades after exploration started. And the Ghanaian President believes that Ghana has the requisite experience to aid the development of Guyana’s oil and gas sector.

Over the past year, Guyana and Ghana have been strengthening cooperation and bilateral ties with Guyana benefitting from substantial support in crafting its oil and gas governance framework.

President Akufo- Addo highlighted that Guyana’s recently enacted historic Local Content Law was crafted through support from Ghana.

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