Contrary to certain assumptions in the public domain, Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday clarified that the government never asked the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) to write the U.S. Exim Bank to approve the administration’s application for a US$660M loan for the US$1.7 billion gas-to-energy project.
That project is being established to transport gas from the Liza oilfield, offshore in the Stabroek Block to an integrated gas processing facility at Wales, West Bank Demerara. It is expected to cut the cost of power by 50 percent. Stabroek Block operator, ExxonMobil is responsible for the installation of the pipeline, meanwhile the Guyana government will operate the Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) processing facility at Wales and will spend about US$1 billion on the onshore and offshore pipeline and ancillary infrastructure.
It was previously reported that the Natural Gas Power Plant and other onshore facilities at Wales incurs a total cost of US$759 million for construction by US-based group called CH4-Lindsayca, that has been hired to build the integrated facility.
Jagdeo had noted that the loan being requested is US$660 million, an adjustment that accounts for the Government having already invested US$100 million from the Treasury to pay CH4-Lindsayca for its initial works on the project.
Asserting the government’s commitment to the project during the press conference, Dr. Jagdeo stated, “So once again, the gas-to-energy project will be built. It is a commitment we made, and in spite of every attempt by Kaieteur News, by Glen Lall, by everyone else, the APNU (opposition) to kill this project, it’s not going to succeed.” He emphasized that bipartisan support for the loan exists and dismissed claims of lobbying the GCCI, stating, “We don’t need to lobby the GCCI.”
Dr. Jagdeo further rebutted accusations by certain entities, labeling them as “loonies” and emphasized the credibility of the project’s economic viability. Referring to opponents, he questioned, “You think that the people who did an assessment of this project in the US are as stupid as they are?” He was keen to quickly highlight as well, the potential benefits of the project, including cheaper electricity for manufacturers and substantial savings for the country.
“They (the GCCI) have a vested interest in this project. They want the project to go forward, because their membership would have cheaper electricity, which will make them more profitable, they can export,” he asserted. He added that citizens would also save US$100M or so every year from the project.
The GCCI’s recent letter to the Exim Bank advocating for project financing had underscored the broader support from the Guyanese business community. Amid attempts to discredit the project, the GCCI reaffirmed its backing, citing the initiative’s potential to boost economic growth and energy security.