Exxon, others investing at Wales Estate

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Oil giant Exxon Mobil has been leased lands at the Wales Estate to build a wharf (Delano Williams photo)

OIL giant ExxonMobil has been leased lands at the Wales Estate to build a wharf and to establish a manufacturing plant at West Bank Demerara, being one of a number of investors set to do projects at the former sugar estate.

Over 200 acres of land of the 8,352 acres of lands at the Wales Estate has been set aside for an “industrial park”, of which Exxon has already surveyed some 50 acres for their project.

Another company is also scheduled to set up a juice processing plant while another will be setting up a coconut farm and processing plant.

The projects are being done as part of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) Special Purpose Unit (SPU) diversification of the former sugar estate, which closed in December 2016.

Exxon will be setting up the wharf on the eastern side of the public road, which is expected to stretch along the Demerara river shoreline from as far as the estate’s former wharf, all the way to the Wales Community Centre Ground.

The Exxon project could get off the ground within a few months. This was confirmed by Officer-in-Charge of the Wales Estate, Charles Browne.

“It’s basically a done deal. Exxon, in partnership with a local business, is setting up a factory for the fabrication of pipes and valves, and other components to use out in the ocean. They will be doing that right here. With them being here setting this up, they don’t want to use the bridge so that’s why they had to get a wharf. It will stretch a long way,” Browne explained.

He added: “The preparations are in place, they visited three times. I know the surveyor has already surveyed the industrial plot for them, 50 acres of it. And on their last visit two or three weeks ago, they were examining where they would enter with these big container trucks and I also know they already have a drawing for the wharf.”
Works at the plant is expected to begin in the not-too-distant future.

“They didn’t give a finishing period but they gave starting information. As soon as they sign the lease they would bring contractors to start land clearing and come with specialised machinery to level and compact the land, which could happen at the end of June, but it would be weather dependent.”

The diversification of the Wales Estate is currently being conducted by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) under their Special Purpose Unit (SPU)

Under the ‘Sugar Industry Privatisation and Diversification’, NICIL invited expression of interest for lands at the Wales Estate, which closed in December 2016.
A number of companies, both local and overseas, have come forward and submitted proposals.

“You can practically say all of the land has been provisionally allocated, which means that some of the people are not yet on stream but persons have sent in their expression of interest and it has been approved. There have been applications from many people both local and overseas,” Browne noted.

“Normally, they come in, they have the land surveyed. They pay the surveying fees and then they take possession of the land, signing their agreement. There are some overseas people that still need to come in and finalise, but they were here several times already so we know they’re serious but some have already begun.”

Aside from Exxon Mobil, most of the industrial park lands are being leased to companies that have already leased lands in the estates. At least one such company has already shipped a number of components for their plant to Guyana.

“For the juice processing plant that will be set up, some of the equipment are already here at Wales but just haven’t been set up. One container has already reached and four more arrived last Monday. They’re trying to set up the factory and get going by the time the next dry weather comes around which is around September-October,” Browne explained