Aug 05, 2021 News
…say oil profits must be passed on to citizens, not pay for questionable pipeline
Kaieteur News – Several civil society bodies are calling for independent, Guyanese-driven energy consultations in relation to alternatives, especially given the uncertainties and likely cost overruns, in addition to environmental and other yet unknown impacts, from the proposed US$900M gas-to-shore energy initiative project.
“The implications of building the pipe-line need to be appraised objectively and transparently and compared with renewable and sustainable energy options.”
This, since the current, “piecemeal announcements on construction of a gas pipe-line and other mega infrastructure projects in the already congested mouth of the Demerara River is generating widespread public exasperation.”
The foregoing sentiments were expressed in a recent joint statement endorsed by a number of civil society bodies including: Transparency International Guyana Inc. (TIGI), Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA), Guyana’s Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD Guyana), Policy Forum Guyana (PFG), Guyana Society for the Blind (GSB), Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR), East Coast Clean-Up Committees (ECD7), Guyanese Organisation of Indigenous People (GOIP), The Benab Foundation, Red Thread, Rights of Children (ROC), Silent Walls Mural Project and the Ursuline Sisters in Guyana.
According to the grouping, “it is uncontested that the gas pipe-line is eminently unjustifiable in terms of Guyana’s energy needs which can be summarised as replacement of Bunker-C fuel as the main source of electrical energy.”
According to the civil society bodies, justification for the pipe-line has to rely on providing energy to a range of new industrial projects, “which as yet have not been identified, much less justified.”
As such, “in the absence of such projects, constructing a gas pipe-line is equivalent to building the run-way before determining whether an airport is feasible.”
To this end, the organisations have since called for a systematic, inclusive and transparent consultation process on energy options available to Guyana.
Addressing the finances related to the project, it was noted that over-estimating benefits and under-estimating costs of large-scale infrastructure projects is routine worldwide and that nine out of 10 roads, bridges, tunnels and railways built over the past 70 years were estimated by an Oxford University study, to average cost over-runs of 30 percent and upwards.
“The more spectacular international over-runs include the HS2 rail project in the UK, which will absorb costs similar to building hundreds of new hospitals or thousands of secondary schools. Dams built in China, India and Pakistan averaged over 90 percent cost over-runs.”
It cited as example too, that “similarly the iconic Sydney Opera House bankrupted everyone associated with its construction, including the architect; the Denver airport, the San Francisco Bridge, the list goes on.”
Guyana, the group noted, “could add the Skeldon Sugar Factory, Amaila Falls and the Cheddi Jagan International Airport as our national contribution to this dismal list of mega-miscalculations.”
It was pointed out that “these calculations relate to relatively standard projects on land” and “against this pattern of miscalculation, the US$900M price tag on the underwater proposed gas pipe-line is notional at best and the risk assessment is 90 percent certain to be 30 percent higher – at least.”
The group remarked too that, “one of the many unknowns of the project is the impact on the deep sea. The deep sea is the most difficult area on Earth to access. To date, far fewer humans have explored its deepest regions than have walked on the moon. It is also extremely vulnerable to human disturbance. No one can predict the repercussions of a deep-sea gas-pipeline. Scientists believe that as many as 10 million species may inhabit the deep sea.”
To this end, the joint missive reiterated, “the citizens of Guyana will be paying the bill for which the Natural Resources Fund (NRF) will likely be the first port of call for financing the pipe-line.”
That Fund, the organisations reminded, “…consists entirely of proceeds from the sale of oil which as a shared natural resource inheritance belongs entirely to future generations of Guyanese people.”
The grouping was adamant, “the current generation has a right to the interest generated by the Fund which should be distributed in some form of citizens’ dividend; how that dividend is to be shared and the Fund managed is another consultation long-promised but not yet delivered.”
The catalogue of serious challenges posed by a gas pipe-line is lengthy, the group reiterated, citing as “most pressing,” the economics such as cost, markets, longevity factors in addition to climate related hazards from flaring, methane leaks and emissions.
According to the grouping, “It is incumbent on Guyana’s civil society to coalesce around more acceptable positive alternatives to Guyana’s energy needs.”
Adamant that determining acceptable alternatives cannot be limited solely to the convenience of the current generation of Guyanese, nor driven by industrial and commercial considerations alone, the grouping suggests, “decisions of this nature must include our obligations to future generations of Guyanese and also to resolving the world’s climate crisis.”
Sep 20, 2021Kaieteur News – The East Bank Football Association (EBFA), Academy Training Centre (ATC) has received a time boost with two corporate entities on the East Bank Corridor partnering with the...
Sep 20, 2021
Sep 20, 2021
Sep 19, 2021
Sep 19, 2021
Sep 19, 2021
Kaieteur News – There is a part of my theorising on the class structure in Guyana in this column that is going to be... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders The public health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has rightly focused the attention and... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]