American construction of natural gas-fired power, natural gas liquids plants stand to “unlock” more US investments

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 December 2022, 15:07 by Denis Chabrol

United States (US) Ambassador to Guyana Sarah-Ann Lynch on Tuesday hoped that the award of a US$759 contract to build a 300 megawatt (mw) natural gas-fired electricity plant and natural gas liquids plant at Wales, West Bank Demerara to two American companies would trigger greater interest by other US companies.

“I think the most exciting thing for me about this LINDSAYCA/CH4- Guyana relationship is that it will very likely unlock amazing opportunities for even more US businesses to look at Guyana as a destination for their investments,” she said before the contract was signed by representatives of the government, CH4/LINDSAYCA and Guyana Gas and Power Inc.

The contract has been awarded to CH4/LINDSAYCA  ahead of the second-ranked bidder, PowerChina, that had offered to build the plants for US$704 million.

US government officials have previously touted the value of quality and on-time delivery of infrastructural projects at a time when there appeared to be an influx of Chinese-owned companies that had been contracted for major infrastructural projects in the public and private sectors.

In wrapping up her remarks, the American envoy described CH4/LINDSAYCA as an “excellent partner for the gas to energy project and we look forward to delivering additional US partners to you very soon.”  Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo said on Tuesday, in his remarks, that government would shortly revive efforts to construct a 150 mw hydro power station at Amaila Falls.

Currently, American companies, ExxonMobil and Hess. are the biggest extractive industrialists as they, along with the Chinese-owned CNOOC, are co-venturers in the lucrative, high crude oil-yielding Stabroek Block.

President Irfaan Ali said preparation for the investment in the electricity and natural gas liquids has put Guyana on the path to better handle such large scale infrastructure.  “This is the largest project that we would have embarked on as a country and that brings with it its own challenges but it also gives us an opportunity to build capacity,” he said.  In addition to work by local teams, he credited the US Embassy for its support.

Dr Ali said the hiring of American companies to build the plants demonstrates the many partners that Guyana has. “We have the most diversified portfolio of projects across different bilateral partners,” he said. The President said Guyana’s relationship with the US was not strengthened only because of the gas to energy project but on the basis of democracy, transparency and the rule of law.  He said Guyana’s investment climate offers consistency, predictability and fairness.

Mr Jagdeo hailed the efforts by the government-appointed task force to bring the signing of the contract to fruition in a record two years, saying that such a pace was “not characteristic of public sector work” to ensure there was procurement transparency, compliance with environmental  and engineering standards, and the naming of the supervisory and evaluation teams.

The Vice President again stressed that government has three non-negotiables towards the agreed completion date by December 2024 in order to deliver cheap, reliable power. “Timelines are important for us, the quality of the work is important and staying within budget. These  are three things that we will look for and monitor carefully,” he said.

ExxonMobil would be constructing the gas-to-shore pipeline under the cost-oil recovery model and would deliver 50 million cubic feet of gas.