GUYANA:Government amends Petroleum Act

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BROOKLYN, NY – The Guyana parliament has given the green light to legislation that government legislators say will support the efforts of the Irfaan Ali administration to provide reliable energy and transform production in several sectors.

Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat, who piloted the amendments to the Petroleum Bill, said they would facilitate the government’s efforts to monitor oil production activities offshore and advance the gas-to-energy project in Region Three.

Bharrat told legislators that the amendments would also allow for two key activities in the development of Guyana’s oil and gas infrastructure, namely the laying of ExxonMobil’s fiber optic cable and the pipelines for the gas-to-energy project at the developing Wales Development Authority (WDA), on the West Bank of Demerara.

The government used its majority to deny amendments tabled by former minister of public infrastructure, David Patterson, with Bharrat noting that the 1986 Petroleum Act does not make provisions for fiber optic cables laying onshore.

“And, as part of safety guidelines, laying such pipelines must be done with adequate spacing from places where people occupy,” he said, adding “what they (ExxonMobil) will do is run that fiber-optic cable on state land…which is, of course, no harm to residents living close by”.

ExxonMobil’s Guyana subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), intends to bring a state-of-the-art fiber optic cable system to shore with Bharrat, indicating that this cable will allow real-time monitoring of production activities offshore Guyana.

“I’m sure this will add to the whole transparency and accountability of the sector,” he said.

The government has also indicated that the amendment makes provisions for the government to acquire privately-owned lands to lay pipelines for the gas-to-energy project, even though Bharrat said that the government would try to use state lands as much as practically possible.

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