Nov 10, 2023 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Everything about this gas-to-energy (GTE) project was wrong from the start. It was an indicator of more wrongs to come. The wrong man was in charge of it from a policy and practical level.
The wrong approach was what became the norm, and continued without one moment of ease. The wrong stories were sold to the Guyanese people in an uninterrupted flow from the people cleared to speak on a project that is characterised by secrecy and uncertainty. Some of the previously thick secrecy is not being shed, and with that the uncertainties of before do not take a pause, they intensify and multiply. The PPPC Government, with Vice President Jagdeo in the forefront is working overtime to headline what is given a sweet-sounding name: monetisation. This is what Jagdeo is talking up: “We’ve made it clear, we want to monetise our gas assets.
This strategy will outline our approach to the industry.” All that that means, is that Guyana should make money from its trillions of cubic feet of gas in the Stabroek Block. In the course of extensive dealings with Vice President (and former president) Jagdeo, we have learned that when he goes downroads like “monetize” and ‘strategise’, then Guyanese had better get wise. It is either he is up to something, experimenting with something, or does not know something. In other words, he is feeling his way, and pretending to have all the facts and figures at his command.
For sure, there is gas in the Stabroek Block, for where there is oil, gas is usually part of that family, inclusive of associated and non-associated gas. There are compelling and profitable markets for both types of gas, but Guyana has not initiated the kinds of studies or surveys that equip this country with the knowledge that it needs to have. Because Guyana, Jagdeo to be more precise, is moving along at a rapid rate with the GTE project to Wales. The GTE is being stuffed into Guyanese stomachs as the answer to their cries for cheap and reliable electricity. If both inexpensive and a dependable supply of electricity could be delivered by the GTE, then there is something to be said for it, probably what could attract our backing.
The challenge for energy hungry Guyanese is that Jagdeo has been touting this Wales GTE project with what is in his head, and little else. Here is a project whose cost has skyrocketed, increased its speed to the finish line, and all that Guyanese have are the sayings put out by Jagdeo. Bitter prices have been paid by Guyanese taxpayers for relying too often on this leader’s promises. They have been written on toilet tissue, and like toilet tissue, Jagdeo’s promises have fallen apart easily, dissolve to nothing, only leaving Guyanese with another bag of debt.
His talk of ‘monetising’ gas assets lacks legs. Give Guyanese something that has teeth, what they can chew and digest. Monetising has something to it, and there is the proof from work that the government commissioned. To date, no updated financial study is available, none that says the Wales GTE project will deliver along the lines that Jagdeo insists will be. Now “monetize” takes centerstage in Jagdeo’s selling of the GTE project. To monetise means market studies, with a view to potential buyers, existing competition, pricing conventions, and the pluses for Guyana. To monetise means special facilities, including transportation mechanisms, but on these Jagdeo is shifty, except for the frills of ‘talking points.’
Guyana currently has proven reserves of 11 billion barrels of oil equivalents, which could mean commercial amounts of gas. The question is how much we really have, how to get the most out of it. Guyanese need to know the details of how that goldmine is going to be handled, what role ExxonMobil has in it, and how Guyana profits. “Monetise” scratches the surface, and with Jagdeo what is left unsaid has battered Guyanese frequently. Begin with the Skeldon factory, and there is a poster of Jagdeo’s many failures. Like the Skeldon factory, the Wales GTE is branded as Jagdeo newest gimmick. There is too much that is hidden and unknown, too much that instils the worst fears.
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