Jul 30, 2021 News
Six years after oil discovery…
Kaieteur News – More than six years after Guyana discovered crude in commercial quantities, coupled with repeated promises by consecutive administrations, to update the nation’s archaic laws governing the industry, moves are now afoot to finally achieving that objective.
Minister with responsibility for the Petroleum Sector, Vickram Bharrat, is slated to, on August 3—next Tuesday—present to the National Assembly, the Petroleum (Exploration And Production) (Amendment) Bill 2021.
The Bill is aimed at amending the nation’s 36-year-old petroleum laws, namely the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act of 1986.
Following the first reading of the Bill in the House by the Clerk of the National Assembly—having been presented by Bharrat on behalf of the administration for a first reading—the 65 Members of Parliament are then given a minimum of a week before debating the proposed legislation and voting on same, or refer the proposal to a special select committee.
The intention to lay over the proposed legislation is documented in the official Order Paper for the next sitting of the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The Irfaan Ali led administration had in October last—two months after taking Office—committed to reforms and the strengthening the Government’s regulatory infrastructure for the oil and gas sector.
These include, according to President Ali—at the time—the revamping the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) Act, establishing a Petroleum Commission, and updating other legislations pertinent to the management of the oil and gas sector, namely Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act of 1986.
“All of these things have to be done institutionally before we even think about [accessing oil funds],” the President had said at the time.
The President had also noted that that once the legislation and Fund are in place, the government would then move to establish the Petroleum Commission.
The moves to better manage the sector through updated legislation comes on the heels of two new discoveries of crude in the Stabroek Block bringing the estimated reserves to well over the already proven nine billion barrels of oil equivalent.
That news was met with elation on the part of the government which immediately signalled that the discovery could potentially see the development of more oilfields than previously envisioned and the potential need for additional floating, production, storage and offloading vessels in order to service oil fields.
The announcement was made by Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL)—ExxonMobil Guyana—on Wednesday and said the oil company’s drilling activities at its Whiptail-1 well encountered 246 feet (75 meters) of net pay “from high quality oil bearing sandstone reservoirs.”
It reported too that “drilling is also ongoing at the Whiptail-2 well, which has encountered 167 feet (51 meters) of net pay in high quality oil bearing sandstone reservoirs.”
As such, the company in making its announcement iterated that drilling continues at both wells to test deeper targets, and results will be evaluated for future development.
Subject Minister, Bharrat, in a subsequent public missive said, “It gives me great pride as the Minister of Natural Resources with responsibility for the Petroleum Sector and on behalf of the Government of Guyana, to announce Guyana’s 21st and 22nd Offshore Oil Discovery at the Whiptail-1 and Whiptail-2 Wells within the Stabroek Block offshore.”
He was adamant that government welcomes these new discoveries offshore Guyana and reinforces its commitment to the sustainable exploration and development of Guyana’s oil and gas resources.
“This we commit to do with the highest level of compliance and transparency to ensure that the benefits from this sector improve the lives of all Guyanese.”
ExxonMobil Guyana announced its first discovery in 2015 when it hit pay dirt in the Stabroek Block at its Liza I wells and has since made a record 21 more commercial discoveries.
Production from the Stabroek Block began in December 2019 and continues to date with a second Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading Vessel—the Liza Unity—set to arrive in Guyana later this year to commence production from its Liza II discovery.
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