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Feb 07, 2023 News
…Opposition submits Motion to Parliament seeking all documents for US$2B Wales gas plant
Kaieteur News – Opposition Member of Parliament, Ganesh Mahipaul on Monday submitted a Motion to the National Assembly seeking the release of all documents for the Wales Gas-to-Energy (GTE) Project.
In the motion seen by Kaieteur News, Mahipaul said that in 2022, a total of $24,613,000,000 was allocated in the Budget for the project with another $43,300,000,000 approved this year towards the construction.
With over $67.9 billion already budgeted, the Opposition Parliamentarian pointed out that the House is yet to be provided with the Final Investment Plan. He also noted that the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) Government signed a Heads of Agreement with the Stabroek Block co-venturers, ExxonMobil, Hess and CNOOC on June 30, 2022.
To this end, Mahipaul said in his motion, “BE IT RESOLVED, that this National Assembly instructs the Minister of Natural Resources to forthwith lay over to the National Assembly all documents relating to the construction of the Wales Gas-to-Energy Project and the Heads of Agreement signed on June 30, 2022.”
Mahipaul further stated that the motion is submitted against the backdrop of the Government clearly spending huge sums of taxpayers’ money without notifying the citizens what the agreement is between the Government and investors.
Mahipaul reasoned, “The claim that the project is not finalised yet cannot be of merit because billions of dollars were already spent in 2022 and billions budgeted to be spent in 2023.”
The Opposition Member of Parliament concluded that with the government acting in secrecy, it is his responsibility as an elected official to ensure there is transparency and accountability in the management of public funds.
This is the third attempt by the Opposition seeking details surrounding the controversial GTE project. Shadow Natural Resources Minister, David Patterson on October 18, 2022 had asked whether any agreements were signed with Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) in connection with the Wales project and if yes, for the Minister to supply the House with a copy of the said agreement.
In response Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat explained that while government has inked an agreement with Exxon, the document cannot be made public just yet.
“Mr. Speaker, the Government of Guyana has signed a Heads of Agreement (HOA) with the Stabroek Co-ventures 30th June 2022. This agreement sets out the principles and conditions for the commercial and technical arrangements of the Gas-to-Energy Project,” Bharrat said.
The Minister added in his written response, “There are other agreements on supply, buyer’s agreement, field development, licensing conditions, onshore works, and land matters that are currently being drafted. The respective agreements and policy documents will be presented to this Honourable House when they have been agreed upon and executed. All agreements are being done in a timely manner to meet the Final Investment Decision which will allow for the project to be completed by our committed deadline of December 2024.”
Additionally, former Health Minister and Opposition Member of Parliament, Volda Lawrence had tabled several questions in the National Assembly in January this year to ascertain the financing arrangements in place for multi-billion dollar GTE project. In the questions posed to Prime Minister, Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips, Lawrence asked for the nation to be told the cost of the gas-to-shore pipeline project, and where or whom the government is sourcing the financing from.
Lawrence also asked for details on the associated terms and conditions. The former minister called on Phillips to state if there would be a contingent liability on the Government of Guyana if Exxon is unable to repay the loan it would use to cover the cost of the pipeline that would transport the gas from the Liza One and Two Projects to onshore facilities at Wales.
Since the inception of this US$2B project, the entire agreement has been shrouded in secrecy. When the Heads of Agreement was signed, the press was invited but were not allowed to ask questions. There has been no press conference on the mega project too, even though there is no updated feasibility study proving the viability of the project.
Government said the venture will lower electricity costs by 50 percent, however independent analysts have said this may not be possible due to the increased price tag of the project.
The Wales GTE project entails 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. Exxon’s pipeline so far is expected to cost US$1.3 billion, while Government anticipates the other two aspects would cost an additional US$700 million.
They are being paid while we are being played…your pain is their gain!
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