With US $250M expansion, Houston shore base to employ 100 more; scale-up operations

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By Shikema Dey

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The Guyana Shore Base (GYSBI) at Houston on the East Bank of Demerara has been servicing the country’s oil industry for years and with the rapid development taking place offshore Guyana, the company plans to inject some US$250 million to scale-up its operations which will see the employment of about 100 more people.

That expansion will take place on some 170 acres of canefield lands over at the Industrial Estate. According to GYSBI’s General Manager Sean Hill, the work has already started.

“We have around about 70 acres of that completed at the moment and we are continually working on the expansion of the rest of it.

“It is old sugarcane land so it takes quite a bit of preparation work. We have got to dig out all of the old sugarcane, all the old muck, backfill it with a lot of sand and compact it so that it is at a suitable level for industrial purposes,” Hill explained on Monday during an interview with the News Room.

The expansion works there will see the construction of additional “open” warehouses.

Hill disclosed that a maintenance workshop is under construction along with a ‘completions warehouse’ – which puts the final touches on equipment before it can be put into production on the floating production storage and offloading vessels (FPSO) offshore Guyana.

General Manager of GYSBI, Sean Hill (Photo: News Room/ February 21, 2022)

An FPSO is the oil ship that helps with the production of oil offshore.

“There is a large, specific, bespoke warehouse going up for those services right now,” Hill added.

Strategically positioned at Houston, north of the Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB), this facility provides efficient logistic solutions.

GYSBI’s main port occupies 130 acres of land and in October last year, the company undertook the construction of two additional berths (a ship’s allotted place at a wharf or dock) to accommodate more Platform Supply Vessels (PSVs).

Ongoing works, costing some US$16 million, will see ‘berth three’ and ‘berth four’ being constructed with the patented Open Cell Sheet Pile (OCSP) system – a new technology – first to be used in Guyana that was developed by an American engineering consultant company, PND Engineers, Inc.

The new berths will see PSVs being able to dock at the port and the new design will also allow for heavy lifting in the oil industry. This, Hill explained, means more business for Guyana as the service was mainly done in Trinidad and Tobago.

“When [the berths] are driven by piles, we will get a maximum load capacity of about 10 tonne per square meter. However, with this design, we can get better at around 100 tonne per square meter.

“That is going to allow us to put much heavier cranes on and lift much heavier loads off the vessels.

One of the heavy-lift cranes on berth one with a Platform Supply Vessel taking on cargo. (Photo: News Room/ February 21, 2022)

“Ultimately, what that means is we can now lift about three times more on and off vessels than what we could previously in Guyana and that is going to enable us to take a lot more of the development and infrastructure projects that we are reliant on Trinidad, to be done in Guyana.

“So we are really the anchor point for the rest of the industry here, at Houston,” he continued.

At present, GYSBI has the largest heavy lift crane in the country – the Manitowoc crane weighing 350 metric tonnes (MT) with a 315 ft (96 m) boom.

It also operates with forklifts ranging from four tonnes to 20 tonnes, Terberg tractors with trailers and various miscellaneous equipment necessary to operate a world-class shore base facility.

GYSBI also places much focus on local content, and according to the General Manager, 250 local companies work directly with the company and some 500 Guyanese are employed as well.

The company will also be expanding its capacity with plans on stream to add another 100 to the workforce by the end of 2022.

Just last year, some 25 locals were hired to fill the positions of mechanics, fuel bunkering supervisors, fuel bunkering operators, equipment maintenance technicians and operations assistants after a number of career fairs were held across the country.

The Guyana Shore Base Inc. is a Guyanese joint venture made up of Muneshwers Ltd., Pacific Rim Constructors, TotalTec Oilfield Services, and LED Offshore.

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