AS the petroleum sector continues to grow, the country is expected to further benefit from the establishment of several new shore bases and port facilities, which are expected to come on stream in the next few years, creating hundreds of new jobs and bringing the government one step closer to delivering on its promise to provide 50,000 new employment opportunities by 2025.
Public works Minister Juan Edghill on Saturday said that the new facilities will not only serve the burgeoning oil and gas sector, but also the operations of other key industries, including agriculture.
At a career fair hosted by the Guyana Shore Base Incorporated (GYSBI) on Saturday, Minister Edghill indicated that a component of the government’s employment drive is the granting of no-objections for several more shore base facilities, in addition to what is being constructed by Guyana Shore Base Inc.
OilNow has since confirmed the interest of eight investors who are looking to build new ports onshore Guyana.
Minister Edghill was quoted by the government’s Department of Public Information as saying that the need for more shore bases is expected to increase, as ExxonMobil Guyana prepares to embark on massive exploration projects, especially within the lucrative Stabroek block offshore Guyana.
“GYSBI cannot alone handle everything that will be happening, everything that will be happening in the oil and gas sector… GYSBI was the first and they are doing well,” Edghill said.
In elaborating on the growing need for more facilities, Minister Edghill said that the oil exploration and extraction operations have resulted in a significant increase in the number of ships traversing the Demerara River on a weekly basis.
More specifically, it has quadrupled, according to Edghill. According to the government’s information department, the number of ships entering the Demerara River is projected to grow exponentially as ExxonMobil prepares to welcome its floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO), the Liza Unity vessel, which is slated to come on stream next year.
“So, you’ll need more ports. We will need definitely more lay down yards. We will need more warehouses. We will need more berthing facilities for ships coming in,” Minister Edghill noted.
He expressed hope that these new ports will be established not only along the Demerara River but also the Berbice and Essequibo Rivers as well.
In addition to the petroleum sector, the new facilities are also expected to serve the booming agriculture industry, especially as President Dr. Irfaan Ali endeavours to return Guyana to its former glory of being the breadbasket of the Caribbean region.
MORE FACILITIES NEEDED
“We will need facilities to deal with agricultural supplies, both for airlift capacity for fresh vegetables and shrimp and fish or even poultry, but we will also need other facilities for our rice, our sugar; if we become a new producer of poultry feed, with our interventions in soya and corn, we need a lot of waterfront facilities,” Edghill noted
Meanwhile, construction of the West Demerara Shore Base (WDSB) is slated to commence later in the year at Versailles.
The investor company, Tristar Incorporated, had said that all regulatory approvals have already been given and that the project was on course for a 2023 completion.
The WDSB will be built on a 70-acre site on the West Bank of the Demerara River. When completed, the project will be a dedicated oil and gas shore base with six-berths.
The WDSB is the brainchild of Guyanese businessman, Krishna Persaud – founder and sole shareholder of Tristar Inc. After a successful stint as a stock market investor and real estate developer in the United States, Persaud has returned to Guyana with an aim of providing opportunities for Guyanese living on the West Bank of Demerara, where he was raised.
The project is projected to bring a much-needed economic boost to several West Demerara communities that suffered “dislocation” due to the closure of the Wales Sugar Estate in 2016.
In addition to creating hundreds of direct employment, the WDSB will also utilise a supply chain of Guyanese suppliers and Guyanese sub-contractors, thereby increasing the number of employment that the project will create.
Tristar in a statement earlier in the year had said that the project will be in keeping with the company’s commitment to the people of Guyana. “The WDSB will also mean more competition in the shore base services landscape which will lead to lower prices for companies engaged in offshore exploration and development activities; this ultimately redounds to the benefit of the Guyanese economy,” Tristar Inc noted.
Additionally, it said that the Versailles area is one that is not congested with traffic, houses and businesses. “Being located up the Demerara River means that the facility will not be subject to coastal wave action. Its location is also just opposite existing development: Guyana Shore Base Inc. (GYSBI), together with the WDSB, could create a sustainable economic cluster,” the company said.