No abandoning hydropower as gov’t inks contract for natural gas, electricity plants

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A diversified portfolio of energy generation locally remains high on the government’s agenda even as the contract was inked on Tuesday for the engineering, procurement and construction of the Guyana integrated natural gas liquid plant and a 300-megawatt power plant.

The signing between the Government of Guyana and US-based integrated energy solutions group – LINDSAYCA – in partnership with a local firm – CH4 Group – took place at the Office of the President in Georgetown.

It forms part of a wider gas-to-shore project promising the delivery of cheaper electricity and large amounts of cooking gas to Guyanese.

Joined by Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, Prime Minister Mark Phillips and Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat, President Irfaan Ali said even with the Amaila Falls Hydro Power project stalled, there was no abandoning of efforts to ensure the generation of hydropower.

“This project does not slow down our commitment to the hydro project.

“We are very proud, very proud that we have done everything within international norms and beyond to bring this project to the end,” Dr. Ali said.

The initial gas-to-shore project was pegged at US$900 million but after successful negotiations, the government managed to secure a reduced cost of US$759 million contract for the plants at Wales, West Bank Demerara (WBD).

President Ali said Vice President Jagdeo was instrumental in finalising what is the largest contract to be pursued by the government in just two years and also thanked ExxonMobil and the US embassy in Georgetown for their assistance.

US Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch delivered brief remarks, noting she was impressed by the local willingness to provide the best possible engineering solution while being attentive to the requests of the government.

She boasted that LINDSAYCA had a global reputation for delivering on high-quality infrastructure of this nature.

“I am… thrilled to have them in Guyana.

“The President said he wanted more US involvement in this phase of the country’s development…I am satisfied with the open and fair tendering process and the decision of the government to hire a sperate firm to oversee the project,” the Ambassador said.

The project was signed by Permanent Secretary Derek Cummings, Nelson Drake and Hector Fuentes of LINDSAYCA/CH4.

Meanwhile, Jagdeo also attested to adherence to the highest international standards for the procurement, engineering, tendering and evaluation of the project.

He said the government was keen on sticking to timelines, promised quality of work and staying within budget.

“These are three things we will look for and monitor carefully.”

According to the Vice President, in addition to fulfilling a manifesto promise to deliver cheap electricity to Guyanese, the project is also consistent with the country’s low-carbon approach.

“This project will allow us to decarbonise the energy sector along with hydro coming soon and solar panels already tendered for to triple installed capacity and cut emissions by 70%,” he noted.

Based on the country’s revised Low Carbon Development Strategy, Guyana will phase out the use of about 70 per cent of the non-renewable, fossil fuels by 2027 through an energy mix of natural gas and renewable energy sources.

These ambitious goals are national priorities but the project itself impacts thousands of people directly.

Natural gas, though a fossil fuel itself, is generally believed to be a lower-emission fuel. Setting up the needed pipeline, Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) plant and the power generation plan is expected to be a feasible venture.

The Amaila Falls hydropower project is still being pursued with the government steadfast on the project’s development model, despite the preferred contractor being unable to fund the project in that manner.

Another integral component in the government’s energy mix is the countrywide solar power network. Altogether, these projects should meet the tripled electricity demand in about four years’ time.

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