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International lawyer suggests ExxonMobil-Guyana deal illegal

January 05, 2021

Kaieteur News:

While the People’s Progressive Party /Civic (PPP/C) administration has continued where its predecessor left off on establishing a project to bring gas to shore so as to meet the increasing energy demands of the city, some industry stakeholders are now advising against it as they believe the project has the potential to land Guyana in environmental and economic disaster.

During a recent interview on Kaieteur Radio’s programme, Guyana’s Oil and You, International Lawyer, Melinda Janki, bluntly stated that the authorities of the day are actually embarking on a “lunatic project” which will place more massive debt on the backs of Guyanese. According to a 2018 feasibility study that was handed to the former APNU+AFC administration, a whopping US$304M is needed for ExxonMobil and its partners to bring natural gas from the Stabroek block to Guyana’s shores. The feasibility study, which was compiled by Energy Narrative, a US-based market analysis firm, states that out of the US$304M, ExxonMobil would be responsible for US$165M, which will be used for pipeline construction costs. The remaining US$139M for the construction of the onshore infrastructure will have to be financed by the Government of Guyana. Also, Guyana would still have to pay for the transportation of the gas but that price is currently under negotiations between the PPP/C and ExxonMobil.

Further to her concerns about the increase in debt, Janki expressed that the nation is supposed to see an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the project before thought is given to its execution. Considering that the law requires EIAs to be done for projects of this nature, Janki is of the belief that the gas to shore venture in its current state, is illegal.

The lawyer also contended that Guyanese are yet to see a current economic analysis which shows that this project is economically sound for Guyana in the long run as opposed to going the route of renewable energy. Taking the foregoing factors into consideration, Janki said that the gas to shore project is a foolish proposition.

Also sharing similar sentiments during the radio programme was Tom Sanzillo, Director of financial analysis at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). 

[Staff Report]

More: Guyana could be heading for environmental and economic disaster

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