STARTING this weekend, the government is expected to begin the signing of agreements with private land owners from Nouvelle Flanders to Wales in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) for the acquisition of land needed for the pipeline for the gas-to-energy project.
This is according to Vice-President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo during a press conference at the Office of the President on Thursday.
Dr. Jagdeo noted that despite the government’s hoping for consensual agreements with the land owners, some of the lands may have to be acquired by means of “eminent domain”, which authorises the State to compulsory acquire private property for public purposes.
“The Attorney-General led this discussion; he has assured me that starting this weekend, they are going to be signing up agreements with a number of land owners who will receive their compensation shortly,” the Vice-President said, adding:
“There may be a few who don’t agree, so the land will be compulsorily acquired, if they don’t agree with the negotiations. Then that matter will proceed. But we believe the right-of-way will be ready soon for the project. Right now, it’s not a humbug to the advancement of the project.”
The 12-inch pipeline, which will stretch some 200km from offshore, will be used to transport the natural gas from the from the Liza Phase One and Liza Phase Two Floating, Production, Storage, and Offloading (FPSO) vessels, to a power plant and Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) facility that will be built in Wales, on the West Bank Demerara.
ExxonMobil’s local affiliate, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), has guaranteed the government that a minimum of 50 million standard cubic feet of gas per day (mmscfd) will be transported through the pipeline by 2024. The pipeline, which is expected to cost US$1 billion, will have a maximum capacity of 130 mmscfd.
As pertains to the power plant and NGL facility, the Vice-President noted that bids are currently being evaluated, and a recommendation is expected shortly.
Five companies have placed their bids to construct the power plant and the natural gas liquids (NGL) plant, with the bids ranging from US$450 million to US$900 million.
Dr. Jagdeo related that the bids were separately evaluated by two international companies; one from Canada and one from the United Kingdom.
“They didn’t meet to collaborate,” he said. “They just did the evaluation separately, then we brought them together to compare. We benefitted from two evaluation reports, and named the evaluation team. So they have the benefit of those reports. They are now working through the evaluation process, and, hopefully, in a week or two, we will then get recommendation which will then go to cabinet for approval.”
The evaluation has also been completed for the consultancy group to manage the project, and a contract has been awarded by Cabinet. Tenders for the transmission mains to connect the power plant to the national grid are also expected to go out shortly.
The conversion of natural gas from ExxonMobil’s offshore operations to electricity is a key component of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government’s objective to lower energy costs by at least 50 per cent through an energy mix which incorporates gas, solar, wind, and hydro power.