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…promise 2,000 jobs, minimal environmental impacts
A group of local entrepreneurs have pooled their resources with the intention of establishing a US$200-600 million base port facility called ‘Port of Vreed-en-Hoop’ which will have the potential to service Guyana’s offshore oil and gas and other shipping needs.
According to a project summary shared by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the port is projected to be located at Foreshore, Plantation Best, West Bank Demerara (WBD).
The Company proposing the project is NRG Holdings Inc., a consortium of three local entrepreneurs attached to businesses with between 38 to 49 years of experience. They are ZRN Investment Inc. located in Kingston Georgetown and represented by Andron Alphonso; Hadi’s World Inc. located on Lombard Street and represented by Nazar ‘Shell’ Mohamed and National Hardware (Guyana) Ltd, located on Water Street and represented by Nicholas Deygoo.
The port is expected to comprise offshore terminal, fabrication, umbilical and spooling yards; administrative buildings which will house offices and modernized logistics centers; warehousing; container management systems, and potential for storage of sub-sea equipment, pipe inspection and repairs; an area for a potential helipad; wharf, berths, dry dock, lodgings, mud plant, logistics and waste management/effluent treatment plant(s).
The Port of Vreed-en-Hoop will only provide the base port facility infrastructure and components as highlighted above. It is expected that individual contractors and operators will design their proposed activities in accordance with the Port of Vreed-en-Hoop and secure the relevant regulatory authorizations.
Meanwhile, the proposed project will be implemented in two phases. Phase 1 will comprise deepening, widening, and dredging and Phase 2 will comprise deepening dredging, offshore dredging and reclamation of the laydown area. It is expected that once Phase 1 components are fully operational, inclusive of service providers, approximately 1000 persons will be employed. The project summary also projected that this number is expected to double with Phase 2 components completed and operationalized.
According to the project summary, there is a promising outlook for Guyana due to its estimated gross recoverable oil resources at more than 8.0 billion oil-equivalent barrels offshore. However, it was noted that while direct employment of Guyanese in the offshore oil and gas activities is not expected to be high, many indirect opportunities abound.
The project summary highlighted that companies are gradually forging strategic partnerships to ensure that as many services as possible can be carried out locally — a vision the Government and private sector can benefit from supporting.
“The proposed Port of Vreed-en-Hoop is one such opportunity to fulfil this gap in Guyana. This proposed project will help the Government of Guyana meet its strategic priorities to boost the economy and stimulate job growth along with helping the country expand key shipping, port, and shore base facilities to rapidly meet industry requirements,” the project summary stated, adding
“The goal is to develop a landmark facility that will equip and bringing tremendous value to the management and operation of the emerging oil and gas sector while directly meeting the high standards of overall industry needs.”
Other aspects of the project summary included relevant information on project design and components, existing environmental and social conditions, and possible environmental impacts, as required by the EPA. The proposed location of the project at Plantation Best will occupy approximately 400 hectares of coastal and nearshore lands and water located seaward of existing Mangroves on the Atlantic coast within the Best/Klein/Pouderoyen Neighborhood Democratic Council (NDC).
The coastal area consists of a combination of natural and man-made sea defence structures, tidal mud banks and beaches, and approximately 60 hectares of mangrove forests. A hydrographic study conducted by the proposed developer found water depths in the proposed project location ranging from -2 to 2 metres nearshore and 2 to 10 metres in the Demerara River channel. Based on design and components the proposed project is not expected to significantly impact flora and fauna.
“It must be noted that the proposed project does not contemplate large scale removal of the mangrove forest in the area. The plan is to leave the existing forest intact as far as practical. There may be some minor impacts due to clearance for example access road, but these are expected to be insignificant. The final designs will articulate the level of footprint expected,” the summary stated.
Meanwhile, whilst there may be short-term and mitigable impacts to water quality in the area due to dredging, NRG Holdings Inc. stated that the proposed project is not expected to have significant long-term impacts on the existing coastal and Demerara River waters, and the groundwater sources. Detailed designs inclusive of plans, design drawings and layout are currently being developed by NRG Holdings Inc. and will be made available once completed.