Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, has affirmed that an oil refinery remains a possibility for Guyana, and the government is currently engaging with five potential investors in this regard.
He said this during a press conference at the Office of the President, Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, Georgetown, on Thursday (January 4, 2024).
“We’ve been having discussions with a number of people who have expressed interest. That group has narrowed down to about five,” he said.
Last year, during a state visit to the Dominican Republic, President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali and Dominican President Luis Abinader signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to address consideration of the Dominican Republic setting up a refinery in Guyana.
On Thursday, the vice president explained that the five groups include the DR group that signed this memorandum.
However, he said that the discussions have seen some divergence from the parameters originally established by the government.
“The parameters we established at the beginning; people want to change those parameters. So, if you change the parameters, you often change the nature of the project and you’re wondering whether it would be fair to the other people. So, clearly, the need for energy security is vital,” he explained.
Along this vein, the VP reminded that the government is simultaneously exploring the possibility of strategic reserves, which may negate the economic viability of an oil refinery.
According to the VP, the government is exploring all options to ensure that the investment is one that is economically viable, sustainable, and will bring added benefits to the country.
“This is not something that we are just going to do on a whim. We are looking at every option, and all the studies, and numbers, because often it’s the numbers that will ultimately influence the decision. These things have to be viable and good for our country in the long run, because an investment of that nature, is about 30, 40 years, so you have to think it through carefully,” he said.
A Request for Proposals was issued in 2022, for the design, finance, and construction of the refinery at Crab Island, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).
An oil refinery is an industrial processing plant where crude oil is refined into marketable petroleum products such as gasoline, asphalt, and kerosene.
The plan for the refinery’s construction ties into the government’s vision of promoting value-added production and securing energy security both for Guyana and the Caribbean.
The proposed refinery is expected to produce 30,000 barrels of oil per day, with the aim of meeting the regional demand.
With the operationalisation of a local oil refinery, Guyana would be able to market crude oil components to various industries for a broad range of purposes, including fuels for transportation, paving roads, and generating electricity and raw materials for chemical manufacturing.