ExxonMobil, Qatar helping to draft Guyana’s gas leak management, monetization plans

Last Updated on Wednesday, 1 February 2023, 21:30 by Denis Chabrol

Qatar is expected to send two experts to Guyana to assist with the development of gas leak and gas monetization plans which are being crafted by ExxonMobil, Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat said.

In response to A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) parliamentarian David Patterson, the minister told the National Assembly’s consideration of 2023 budget estimates of expenditure that no money has been included in this year’s budget for the gas leak plan for the gas-t0-shore project because ExxonMobil would be financing that aspect.

Mr Bharrat said the operator, ExxonMobil, has been assisting the Guyana government’s technical teams. “The operator has been assisting with all the studies along with our technical team so you would not see an allocation assigned to it but it is being done between ourselves and the operator; they are actually paying f0r it then,” he said.

The 190-mile pipeline from Liza would land on the West Coast Demerara and then continue to Wales where a 300 megawatt natural gas-fired electricity generation plant and a natural gas liquids plant would be constructed by the American joint venture CH/LINDSAYCA at a cost of US$759 million. The 12-inch pipeline is expected to feed the plants with 50 million standard cubic feet of natural gas.

That prompted Mr Patterson to question the wisdom of asking ExxonMobil to formulate its gas leak management plan rather than government hiring independent experts to do so. In response, Mr Bharrat said  the operator was now required to have such a plan in keeping with the new production licences for Payara and Yellowtail but government would still conduct its own review. “It is not us accepting what the operator gives to us; it is us reviewing and making our input but it is built into the licence, it is part of their responsibility. It takes the expense away from us but we still have a major say in reviewing and putting our inputs into any plan,” he told the Committee of Supply.

Mr Bharrat acknowledged that Mr Patterson’s concern was genuine and that is why GY$25 million have been allocated to hire consultants to review the operator’s reports and studies.

The Minister said following the recent visit by Qatar’s Petroleum Minister Sherida Al-Kaabi to Guyana, that country would be sending two experts next week to this oil-rich South American nation to assist with the gas leak, and gas utilisation-monetisation plans “at no cost to us.”

Government has allocated GY$100.7 million to review the Whiptail Field Development Plan which is expected to be submitted in late 2023, and when that comes on stream it would be the sixth development.