Exxon plans to build new offloading facility, road on west bank of Demerara River

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By Vishani Ragobeer

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A new offloading facility and heavy haul road are among the supporting infrastructure ExxonMobil expects to build by 2023 to help advance the gas-to-energy project at Wales on the West Bank of Demerara (WBD), Region Three.

ExxonMobil, through its local affiliate Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), hopes to transport natural gas produced offshore Guyana to a production facility onshore at Wales.

ExxonMobil’s Project Manager for the gas to energy project, Friedrich Krispin on Wednesday said that a temporary materials offloading facility (MOF) could be built if the project is approved.

This facility will be located on the western bank of the Demerara River, at a location to be finalised. It will be used for offloading heavy modules and imported material or equipment. And it would connect to a proposed heavy haul road that extends to the Wales site.

Alternative locations for the Materials Offloading facilities (Photo taken from EIA)

“This will probably start in 2022, once we get all the permits, and be completed in 2023,” Krispin told a public disclosure meeting hosted at the Umana Yana in Georgetown on Wednesday.

The establishment of this facility will also require dredging of the Demerara River to connect the existing ship channel to the offloading facility and to provide a turning point for vessels.

Krispin also lamented the poor road infrastructure in Region Three. Though he noted that the company will largely seek to minimise the use of established roadways when constructing the facility, he highlighted that EEPGL may upgrade some of the region’s roads and bridges.

Currently, the company is seeking environmental authorisation through Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the construction of a natural gas pipeline expected to transport the gas from the Liza Phase 1 and 2 oil fields in the Stabroek Block offshore.

The undersurface pipeline is expected to land at Crane/Nouvelle Flanders, West Coast Demerara before it is extended to Wales. The gas channelled through the pipelines will be brought to a natural gas liquids (NGL) processing plant in Wales; Exxon is exploring whether it will also construct this plant.

This gas produced at the NGL plant, it is currently proposed, will be sold to third parties for use. It is also proposed that the gas will be used to fire a power plant, manned by the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) that should produce 300 megawatts of electricity- about twice the amount of Guyana’s current production.

Ahead of the project’s potential approval, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been conducted. This EIA indicated that both the pipeline and NGL plant will generate some negligible to moderate impacts on the environment.

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