The national debate that has gripped the nation on the pros and cons of the gas-to-shore project is missing key details so that informed conclusions can be had about its environmental and financial soundness.

Associate Professor, Dr. Terrence Blackman, who is at heart, a supporter of the project, was keen to note that Guyanese are still unaware of what are all of the options as they relate to the cost/economics of the project, the potential impacts on biodiversity, and the potential impacts on the people who are living within range of the project.

Importantly, he pointed out that one is also unaware of the technical details that informed the selection of Wales as against other sites and who are the people that produced the said data.

Dr. Blackman said he is of the firm conviction that Guyana should have some mechanism where the gas from the Liza Field can be used to generate energy. He said the challenge lies, however, in understanding the extent to which it will support national development for years to come given that the world is moving against fossil fuels.

The Associate Professor made the point that the government is perhaps moving to give the Wales Estate a new purpose since sugar is just too costly to produce. He said one ought to be aware that as estates are closed, they have to be reopened with a new direction.

“…That’s why I support [the project] coming to Wales. We need to find a new reason for the sugar estates or for these places, we need to configure them differently. And so bringing the natural gas to the site, seems like a good idea. Now having said that, I don’t know what process the current government went through to have that site selection. But that is the kind of thing that locally needs to happen right now,” expressed Dr. Blackman.
He added, “Someone needs to say, you know, we had a site selection team, the site selection team consisted of the following people. You know, here were the following proposed sites that we’ve decided to look at. And, you know, some criteria for the sites, how much would it cost to develop the site, how far is the site from the FPSO, how accessible is the site, do they have good roads, ports, etc.”

The Associate Professor opined that these technical details have to be put into the public debate.

Further to this, he asserted that Guyanese need to know whether the land that was used to support the sugar industry is the right place for an Industrial park and the costs associated with developing the land for its new purpose. Dr. Blackman said that crucial to the gas to shore equation is understanding how the Guyana Power Light would be integrated into the project.

He concluded, “I am a very emotional supporter of the idea that somehow we can pivot our sugar estates, to the energy sector…But I think you have to really do a proper evaluation of the site, and you really have to do that in a transparent manner, and you have to inform the public as best as you can about here’s why we’ve made this decision and here’s why we think it is going to be the best deal for our country.”


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