Guyana President calls for “immediate” development of natural gas resources

Kevin Crowley, Bloomberg February 19, 2024

(Bloomberg) – Guyana President Irfaan Ali called for the “immediate” development of its natural gas resources to make the South American country a regional energy powerhouse on top of its rapidly-growing oil exports.

The Stabroek Block offshore Guyana (Source: Hess Corp.)

The government is requesting that companies propose strategies to produce more natural gas, Ali said at the Guyana Energy Conference & Supply Chain Expo in Georgetown Monday.

“The time to develop our gas is now,” Ali said. “There’s an immediate window of opportunity between now and the end of the decade to monetize and maximize” Guyana’s gas resources.

Exxon Mobil Corp., which discovered oil in Guyana in 2015, is ramping up production fast and aims to produce 1.2 MMbpd by 2028, making the country a significant global crude player. But Guyana’s offshore waters also contain vast amounts of natural gas, which Exxon currently reinjects into its reservoirs as a waste product. Ali wants to make more use of this gas and sees it as key to developing the country’s economy as a manufacturing and food hub.

Guyana’s vision for natural gas may require regional co-operation due to the scale and expense of producing and transporting the fuel, which is seen as cleaner burning than coal in electricity generation. If successful, Guyana could lower its energy costs and expand manufacturing by building gold and aluminum smelters, as well as a deepwater port to help export agricultural products from the region, which includes northern Brazil.

Ali’s plans are in addition to a $1 billion gas-to-shore pipeline project for domestic power generation that is scheduled to be complete by the fourth quarter of this year, Ali said. The project will provide 50 MMcfdg in the first phase before ramping up to 120 Mmcfd.

Combined with nearly $1 billion of investment in Guyana’s power network, the project will help reduce costs by 50% and improve reliability, Ali said.

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