By Kiana Wilburg
Guyana is a mere 10 months away from commercial oil production, yet, the government is still to say what will be the way f
orward for Guyana with regard to having an oil refinery and a National Oil Company (NOC).
This was confirmed with Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, yesterday afternoon during a post-Cabinet press briefing.
Considering the fact that Harmon is also tasked with helping President, David Granger manage the Energy Department, Kaieteur News asked Harmon to say what would be the way forward for the country as it relates to having an oil refinery as well as an NOC. Harmon declined to give any details and said this newspaper should direct its questions to Energy Department Head, Dr. Mark Bynoe.
The Director General said, “What we have instituted is a system where the head of the Department of Energy faces the media, interacts with the media and answers these questions. I know there was a press conference only recently by the department.
“I am quite aware that Dr. Bynoe, the head of that department, is prepared to answer any questions that are relevant… So I would refer the questions to him.”
Harmon said that if this newspaper is experiencing difficulty in getting access to the Energy Department, he is prepared to facilitate same.
In spite of this, Kaieteur News continued to press for a definite answer, this time, asking Harmon to say specifically if the issues had been deliberated at the level of Cabinet.
Harmon noted that when the matter is discussed at that level and the President has deliberated on it, the nation will be informed.
Since the discovery of oil in 2015, the discussions have been unending about whether Guyana should pursue an oil refinery.
In fact, the APNU+AFC administration had hired Mr. Pedro Hass, Director of Advisory Services at UK based firm, Hartree Partners, to conduct a study on the feasibility of an oil refinery here.
His report categorically stated however that this was not practical. Even though reserve estimates of the block have jumped to 5.5B barrels of oil, Hass maintains that a refinery is just not economical in Guyana’s case.
On the other hand, regional industry analysts advocate that Guyana should not close the door to an oil refinery. They believe that those who make the case against it based on market conditions, are ignoring the economics of small scale refining and the value of energy security and regional integration, particularly in the context of small island state economies.
Several Ministers as well as local and regional analysts have often weighed the pros and cons of having a National Oil Company (NOC), which would participate in the booming petroleum industry.
But the government is yet to decide if it will move forward with this initiative much less to say what model would be used.
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