GIVEN the significant interest being continuously shown, the government will soon launch an Expression of Interest (EoI) for the establishment of a 30,000 barrel per day oil refinery, President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, said on Tuesday.
President Ali made the announcement at the Office of the President during remarks at a ceremony for the handing over of the ISO 9001 certificate to the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest).
He noted that there are several areas that the government will be targetting to open up opportunities in the country, including the consideration of a refinery.
“We are looking at the launch of an Expression of Interest for a 30,000 barrel [per day] refinery. This Expression of Interest will be launched soon,” Dr. Ali announced.
An oil refinery is an industrial processing plant where crude oil is transformed and refined into useable products such as gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, and other fuel oils and products.
Talks about a local refinery comes at a time when the government is preparing to auction off the remaining oil blocks offshore Guyana.
Billions of barrels of oil equivalent (boe) were discovered offshore in the Stabroek Block, which is owned by Exxon Mobil and its partners Hess and CNOOC. However, given the absence of a refinery, all of the crude pumped offshore will have to be exported.
As it is now, Exxon and partners have four sanctioned projects offshore Guyana. Of those, Liza Phase One is producing approximately 140,000 barrels per day, using the Liza Destiny floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, while the Liza Phase Two, which started production in February, is steadily ramping up production to reach its 220,000 barrels per day capacity, using the Liza Unity FPSO vessel.
Given the increasing number of discoveries, there has been growing support for Guyana to have its own refinery. The private sector has been lobbying for a modular refinery for some time now. A modular refinery is a simplified refinery, which is less capital intensive when compared with the traditional full-scale refineries.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Go-Invest, Dr. Peter Ramsaroop, said that the refinery will most likely be a modular refinery.
While nothing decisive has been said, the Berbice area is still being considered as a possible location, as the facility will have to be located close to a river.
Dr. Ramsaroop also noted that the country has been seeing much interest from investors with regards to the setting up of an oil refinery.
“We’ve been having lots of proposals come in about the setting up of an oil refinery and I think the government has decided to look at it from a holistic perspective. So, let’s see how those proposals come in and ensure that we continue to look at the environment. New technology in the refineries today have minimal emissions. So, all of that will be looked at in the Expression of Interest process that the President announced,” Dr. Ramsaroop said.
With the sharp increase in global oil prices over the past few years, which was escalated by the war between Russia and Ukraine, the conversation around a refinery in Guyana has become all the more pertinent.
It is expected that the refinery will focus mainly on producing refined oil for local consumption.
Dr. Ramsaroop related that Guyana’s consideration for a refinery is part of the country’s plans to become more energy secure in light of the world’s heavy dependence on oil and gas as fuels.
“If you just study what has happened in the world today, what is happening in Ukraine with the war with Russia, and how fuel prices have gone up, it is very important for Guyana to look at how it can sustain itself long term. I think a refinery is just one more step of us looking at our needs in the near future, similar to the gas coming to shore,” Dr. Ramsaroop explained.
“If you look at the fuel aspect and combine that with all the integrated energy solutions with hydro and wind, then I think Guyana is poised that our future has arrived and we are ready to ensure that we sustain our nation long term,” he added.