Opposition Member of Parliament, David Patterson has written to Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir for an update on his motion to address issues pertaining to the government’s US$900M gas-to-shore project.

Patterson’s letter, as seen by this news agency, states that his motion on the subject was submitted 73 days ago. The parliamentarian said he has since noticed recent statements from the Speaker, stating that he is dedicated to conducting the business of the House in a “fair, transparent and orderly manner.”

Patterson said it is his expectation that his motion would be approved in the shortest possible time.

Patterson’s motion calls for a series of comprehensive, independent studies to be undertaken prior to the commencement of the project which is expected to come on stream in 2026.

In his motion, the parliamentarian outlined that the Wales location for the housing of a natural gas conversion hub will require a 110km long pipeline to be laid along the seabed, as well as 27km on land, which will pass through residential, commercial and agricultural zones.

The parliamentarian said no investigation nor study has been conducted to understand the environmental and safety risks from pipeline leaks and ruptures, which may be caused by defective construction, aging, corrosion, seabed land forms, mudslides, hurricanes, faults, fractures, and seismic activities, such as earthquakes and volcanoes.

He was keen to note that gas leakages and exposures in the marine environment have been shown to be highly toxic to fish, other living organisms and their ecology, which could devastate the fishing industry. He said a study is therefore necessary to address these concerns.

Further to this, Patterson said it has been determined in a March 2021 United States Bureau of Environmental Enforcement (US Offshore oil & gas regulator) comprehensive report that the technology has not matured, and is not reliable enough to ensure the integrity of deep-water pipelines and detection of subsurface leaks. He said, too, that no new study has been conducted to investigate the economic, social and environmental renewable alternatives, such as solar, hydropower, and wind, including an energy mix with phasing, thereof. He therefore called for a study in this regard to be conducted.

When completed, he said these studies, among others recommended, should be submitted to the Parliament’s Natural Resources Committee which should, after examination, present a report to the National Assembly.

Patterson is of the firm conviction that the gas-to-shore project’s final decision should be put on hold until the National Resources Committee presents its report for debate and approval. His motion last year was seconded by AFC Co-Founder and Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan.


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