British think-tank to advise Guyana on feasibility of oil refinery

Last Updated on Friday, 14 October 2016, 18:35 by Denis Chabrol

The United Kingdom’s (UK)  leading think-tank  is helping Guyana decide whether it will be feasible to build an oil refinery here and, if so, what is the best model, Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman announced Friday.

He said the New Producers Group of Chatham House- the Royal Institute of International Affairs- is expected to tell government by year-end whether Guyana needs an oil refinery. Trotman said the experts are expected to consider the fact that Guyana is committed to renewable energy and where do hydrocarbons fit into the economic mix.

“We have commissioned a study and I hope and expect that by the end of the year that government will be guided from an economic standpoint whether or not we should  have a refinery, whether or not government should have a stake in such a venture or whether it should be left to the private sector on its own,”  he said.

The minister noted the risks involved should oil prices plummet. He pointed to the fact that Suriname’s oil refinery is virtually useless because of the huge slump in world oil prices.

Meanwhile, the Minister said that several new laws related to the petroleum industry and amendments to existing laws and regulations would be tabled in the National Assembly by next April.  In addition to updating the Petroleum Act, he said the new laws would govern the establishment of a Petroleum Commission and deal with local content , occupational safety and health, a sovereign wealth fund, and a fund for infrastructural and social development.