Updated Petroleum Bill will be finalised early next year – Jagdeo

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

An updated Petroleum Bill to bring the outdated 1986 Petroleum Act that governs the oil and gas sector, into the 21st century, will be finalised by next year. This is according to Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo.

According to Jagdeo during a recently broadcasted interview, work is presently ongoing on updating the Petroleum Act. This is work that is presumably being spearheaded by the Attorney General Chambers.

“The Natural Resources Fund, the local content, the 1986 Petroleum Act, that is being reworked now… maybe, probably around February or March of next year, the Petroleum Act will be (finalised),” he said.

Additionally, the Vice President said that legislative changes will also have to be made for the auction of the oil blocks. According to him, “on the legislative side, if we have to make provisions for the auctions to take place, because currently we may not… the laws do not allow for that to happen just like that.”

In August of last year, the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) (Amendment) Bill 2021 was brought to the National Assembly to amend Section 52 of the principal Act. This section deals with land use.

It specifically targets work done by a petroleum licensee in furtherance of its operations on State land, Government land, or land that is otherwise controlled or under the management of the Government of Guyana.

Based on the amendment, the Minister would have the power to grant permission to the licensee to land, install or operate any pipeline, fibre optic cable or similar infrastructure on or through the said land.

It also empowers the Minister to order the licensee to maintain, inspect, repair or renew such infrastructure. The amendments also speak to the granting of consent to the Minister and a petroleum licensee for use of land by the private owners or lawful occupiers of said land in aid of petroleum operations.

Prior to the amendment being passed, the Government had issued an order to compulsorily acquire land that would be used to build the US$900 million gas-to-shore project and lay the gas pipeline from Nouvelle Flanders on the West Coast of Demerara (WCD) to Canal Number One Public Road on the West Bank thereof.

The gas-to-shore project, which has a 25-year lifespan, is expected to employ up to 800 workers during the peak construction stage, as well as some 40 full-time workers during the operations stage, and another 50 workers during the decommissioning stage.

It features approximately 220 kilometres of a subsea pipeline offshore that will run from the Destiny and Unity Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels in the Stabroek Block to onshore. Upon landing on the West Coast Demerara shore, the pipeline will continue approximately 25 kilometres to the NGL plant at Wales, West Bank Demerara.The pipeline will be 12 inches and is expected to transport some 50 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) of dry gas to the NGL plant but has the capacity to push as much 120 mmscfd.

The pipeline’s route onshore will follow the same path with the fibre optic cables and will terminate at Hermitage, part of the Wales Development Zone (WDZ) which will house the gas-to-shore project.

The Guyana Government has already invited interested parties to make investments in the Wales Development Zone, which will be heavily industrialised and for which approximately 150 acres of land has been allocated. Those lands were previously used by the Wales Sugar Estate.

Additionally, Government has gone out to tender for international firms to construct and to manage the construction phase of the integrated Natural Gas Liquid (NGL) plant and the 300 MW power plant, all part of the project.