Guyana, Dominican Republic ink MoU for establishing oil refinery

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
President Dr Irfaan Ali with his Dominican Republic counterpart, President Luis Abinader

…2 countries agree to collaborate on agriculture, tech transfer & other areas

President Dr Irfaan Ali, who arrived in the Dominican Republic (DR) on Tuesday for an official two-day visit, has signed several agreements with his DR counterpart, Luis Abinader, including one for the joint establishment of an oil refinery in Guyana.

Over the past few months, ties between Guyana and the DR have grown closer as the leaders of the two countries met at various forums.

On Tuesday, President Ali continued those bilateral efforts when he and First Lady Arya Ali arrived in the Dominican Republic for their visit along with a large delegation of Government officials and members of Guyana’s private sector.

An extended meeting between both delegations was conducted, as well as a ceremony to sign Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) for an oil refinery to be built in Guyana, which could refine at least 50,000 barrels of oil per day.

The two leaders at a Joint Press briefing on Tuesday

As per the terms of the agreement, the DR will have 51 per cent ownership of the refinery. At present, the Government has gone out to tender for proposals to build a refinery in Berbice with a 30,000-barrels per day (bpd) capacity. Last month, it had been revealed that four out of the 11 companies that had submitted proposals last year have been shortlisted.

The agreements signed on Tuesday also include one for DR to examine the feasibility of exploring for oil offshore Guyana and for cooperation in tourism. Meanwhile, the establishment of a petrochemical plant and collaboration in agriculture were discussed. Following the signing, President Ali spoke about the significance of the MoUs.

“These MoUs position us very strategically as two countries in this Region. The value creation is enormous, both for Guyana and for DR. We have, with investment in the petrochemical plants, we can target not only the markets of Guyana and the Dominican Republic and the Region, but more importantly northern Brazil.”

“Northern Brazil is a high consumer of agro-chemicals and they require it from all over the globe. It would take them a very long time, transport and logistics. With an investment like that in Guyana, in 48 hours we can meet the market. So, the value creation in these agreements is enormous,” Ali said.

According to President Ali, the value creation from these partnerships would lead to the creation of specialised, high-paying jobs. He also spoke of the potential that can come from Guyana and DR partnering in tourism.

President Dr Irfaan Ali and President Luis Abinader witnessing the signing of one of the MoUs between Guyana and the Dominican Republic

When it comes to agriculture, it is understood that joint production of agricultural products such as corn and soybeans, as well as partnerships in the poultry sector, were discussed. According to President Ali, the agreements inked in agriculture between the two countries will ensure their prominence at the table whenever food security is discussed.

“When it comes to food security, with the partnership we’re establishing with the Dominican Republic today, the transfer of technology, knowledge, the building of capital, the integration of markets, the integration of our food systems and agriculture portfolio, there will be no conversation on food security, especially in this Region, without the two countries being a part of it.”

According to President Ali, record-breaking trade is already being recorded between the two countries. He was optimistic that this would only improve over the coming years. In particular, the President said that they are targeting markets such as aquaculture. He stressed, however, that the two countries are not limiting themselves to the traditional sectors.

“For Guyana, there are a few agricultural products that we’re targeting, that do have a massive market. So, the market opportunities, for example aquaculture. Aquaculture is an enormous opportunity. We are four times more competitive in aquaculture than any other country in the Region, including Brazil.”

“We are not limiting ourselves to the six areas. The working group will be looking at additional areas, through which we’ll collaborate. Especially given the fact that we’re now operating in a new world where digitisation, AI is going to play a greater role. We’re going to start conversations around these important global issues,” President Ali said.

At a planned business meeting, members of the private sector from both countries will meanwhile meet and discuss investment opportunities. Presentations are also expected from GO-Invest CEO Dr Peter Ramsaroop and his DR counterpart Biviana Riveiro.

In June 2023, President Abinader had himself arrived in Guyana for a one-day visit where talks progressed about potential collaboration. Following bilateral talks between President Ali and President Abinader at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre in Greater Georgetown, senior Ministers from the two nations signed three pacts to strengthen collaboration, including a MoU on cooperation in energy-related matters.

This MoU had established a framework to facilitate and enhance bilateral cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector of the two countries based on equality and mutual benefit. It had included the promotion of investments in each other’s countries, as well as technology transfer, research and development, the building of human resources and collaboration in the natural gas sector. (By Jarryl Bryan)