Apr 19, 2021 Editorial
Kaieture News – “Any major capital project requires a feasibility study that should encompass supply, infrastructure, processing, transportation, marketing and stakeholder relations under different scenarios, including timing, prices and financing.” That quote was taken from Dr. Dean Foreman, Chief Economist of the well-regarded American Petroleum Institute (API), as carried in the article titled, “Major capital projects require feasibility studies -API Economist” (KN April 18).
Of course they do, which is what we have been saying all along right in the pages of this newspaper on the gas-to-shore project earmarked for Wales. The API Chief Economist took it all the way to where it belongs with his emphasis on “any major capital project” of which gas-to-shore surely must qualify to be one. When looked at via any of its main components: the hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars needed, the amount of time for the project, the commodity involved, the surrounding market forces, and the sheer logistics of it, a few things become clear.
It becomes clear and imperative that only a credible feasibility study would furnish the depth of detail and expert analysis that enables our own Guyanese reviewers to appreciate the pluses and shortfalls of such a massive project. A feasibility study conducted and compiled by a trusted, independent entity would go very far in proving to the Guyanese people whether or not they should have this project.
It is important to note that only people, who are unattached, who have no stake in the outcome, can be so clinical as to call this project for what it is.
This is what we at this paper, and a few other Guyanese of standing, have tried to put before Guyana’s Vice President, without success. And this is precisely what Dr. Foreman, the API’s Chief Economist, has categorically stated is required for a successful undertaking, not only in gas-to-shore, but for any major capital project. There is nothing that can be less of a ‘no brainer’ than that, but for which Mr. Jagdeo claims only he has the quantity of functioning brain cells and the voltage of brainpower to dismiss out of hand, and based on whatever whim or fancy that he harbours.
A project costing approximately one billion US dollars should not be done along the lines of this or any other leader’s mere say so. It is not enough, it is not acceptable, and it is not supportable. Now, in the instance of this gas-to-shore project, when we are speaking of close to a billion United States dollars, which is approximately 210 billion Guyana dollars. It is why we say that it cannot be on any one man’s say-so and that alone. No such man, or leader, or egotist and narcissist, possesses the kind of wisdom that he and he alone must be accepted as the sole and unquestioned authority for a project of such magnitude, and with such a massive price tag.
We dare to be among the critics and naysayers on this. It is not even about the Vice President, since this is bigger than he is and has taken on an importance beyond him. This is about the project itself and the need for an independent and credible feasibility study, which when completed can be relied upon as to the viability of such a project. Before we can decide on the viability of the Wales gas-to-shore project itself, we have this bone-in-the-throat issue, as generated by the antics of this country’s Vice President, where energies are wasted on the question of whether a feasibility study is necessary or not.
In essence, it is the yea or nay of a feasibility study for this much pushed for gas-to-shore project, rather than the project itself. This should not be happening, given our costly failures with other projects. It should not be, in view of what has occurred in our lopsided relationship with ExxonMobil. It should not be, when we have so much before us, and of which we know so little. We cannot rely on our own instincts alone, or on the capricious calculations of leaders who have a history of failure and trickiness. Instead, it would be the pinnacle of wisdom to reach for and depend on those entities and those experts that can be trusted to study this gas-to-shore project to its core, and put on paper to us Guyanese, what is the whole story and the real story of what it could or could not be. Then, and only then, will we at this paper be able to throw the full weight of our backing on what is brought before to decide upon, as opposed to what is being rammed down our throats as a done deal. That we will not be a part of, NO! Just do a credible study.
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