Sep 26, 2022 News
– Minister Vickram Bharrat assures landowners concerns will be addressed
Kaieteur News – Even as landowners in Region Three fume over the presence of a natural gas pipeline on their properties- causing disruption and fear- the Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat is confident that Government’s plans to develop the Gas-to-Energy (GTE) project will not be deterred by concerned citizens.
At the sidelines of a meeting, hosted on Friday at the West Demerara Secondary School where landowners that will be affected by the pipeline were engaged, Minister Bharrat told this publication that he does not foresee any hiccups along the land acquisition process. “I don’t see any hiccups but of course people expressed their concerns, which is expected and rightly so. If I was a land owner I would be concerned too but we will engage them, this is just the first engagement. There will be many other engagements where we will speak to them directly and to try to negotiate to come to a common position on a consensual basis.”
About 25 landowners between Nouvelle Flanders and Canal Number One in Region Three received a document outlining the measurement of the land that will be required for the pipeline, along with the cost Government is willing to pay, based on the valuation process already completed. This publication spoke with a number of landowners who said they are not satisfied with the offer made by Government for their lands. One farmer for example explained that the offer made did not take into consideration the earnings made from the property that would be affected.
Meanwhile, another landowner in Canal Number One explained that even though Government will only require part of his land, his farming activity will be completely disrupted hence he does not believe he received a fair offer for compensation. The man, who is employed at a Government Office, asked to remain anonymous.
He explained, “I am one of the landowners that will be extremely affected. According to what they are saying it will be about six acres they need. My concern is, if you taking half of the land I can’t do anything else on the other half so it’s kind of pointless because they are saying there will be a fence on either side of the pipe and they will have some sort of security or something so I would have to move off of the land because I can’t farm on it, I can’t live there, I can’t burn anything on the land because of the pipeline. I plant pineapples, tangerines, plantains and other cash crops. I born and grow there and my father got the land from his grandfather and so I am currently 29 years old. It will affect me a lot. I am looking forward to a call from whichever lawyer they say they are gonna propose to us but this offer I can’t work with it.”
Also, the young man said he is fearful that a gas leak may occur and start a chain reaction; hence he may be forced to discontinue his great grandparents’ legacy.
A female landowner who did not state her name shared, “we been living here we whole life now they just want come and disrupt your whole system. Not the entire land will be affected but still you are being disrupted. Exxon had sent a young lady and I asked what would happen if it explode and they said it would be underground nine feet but I don’t know how much land they really taking but I am waiting on next week to hear what they would say.”
Even amid these concerns, the Natural Resources Minister said he believes the affected persons are comfortable knowing that the gas pipeline to be set up by US oil major, ExxonMobil will be buried underground. He said, “They understand that there will be a buffer zone, they understand that the pipeline will be secured and it will be managed or policed to ensure safety and security of the pipeline so it will be secured in that not just anybody can run in and do anything to it, so they understand that and that it will be underground and not on land so I think they are pretty much comfortable with that position it’s just the process of the land acquisition now.”
The GTE project
The GTE project will involve capturing associated gas produced from crude oil production operations on the Liza Phase 1 (Destiny) and Liza Phase 2 (Unity) Floating, Production, Storage, and Offloading (FPSO) vessels, transporting approximately 50 million standard cubic feet per day. It will entail three components inclusive of the pipeline, a Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) facility to treat and separate the gas and a power plant to generate 300 megawatts of electricity.
The project has a planned life cycle of at least 25 years.
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