Patterson calls for halt of gas-to-shore project until thorough studies conducted

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APNU+AFC Member of Parliament (MP) and Petroleum Shadow Minister David Patterson has submitted a motion to Parliament that the Government’s $900 million gas-to-shore Project be halted until studies are completed and prove that the project is feasible.

The project is the single largest infrastructure project in the country’s history based on costs. Currently, the APNU+AFC Opposition holds the position that the Government’s plan to construct the gas-to-shore project in Wales is a recipe for disaster as the location is not supported by studies conducted.

According to the motion, there are many other reasons that the project runs the risk of being a major danger to the environment, citizens and Guyana’s pockets.

The motion states that the Wales location will require a 110km long pipeline to be laid along the seabed as well as 27km on land, which will pass through residential, commercial and agricultural zones.
“…no investigation nor study has been conducted to understand the environmental and safety risks from pipeline leaks and ruptures that may be caused by defective construction, aging, corrosion, sea bed land forms, mudslides, hurricanes, faults, fractures, and seismic activities such as earthquakes and volcanoes,” the motion indicated.

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Meanwhile, Patterson said that gas leakages and exposures in the marine environment have shown to be highly toxic to fish, and living organisms and the ecology, which could devastate the fishing industry.

Added to this, he drew attention to the March 2021 United States Bureau of Environmental Enforcement report which stated that technology is not mature and reliable enough to ensure the integrity of deep-water pipelines and detection of subsurface leaks.

The Opposition MP also raised the contention that no new study has been conducted to investigate the economic, social and environmental renewable alternatives such as solar, hydropower, and wind, including an energy mix with phasing, thereof.

“…the proposed Wales facility is located at the mouth of the Demerara River which has a very shallow draft and where 90 per cent of the commercial marine traffic operates…such a location would exacerbate the safety and environmental risks effected by the worsening marine traffic congestion,” the motion stated.

It was recommended that comprehensive studies by independent internationally recognised consultants to better inform the Government’s decision-making process.

Patterson said that the scope of work should include investigation to understand the geological, environmental, and safety risks with mitigative actions; an economic analysis including the total estimated project cost of the project alternatives and monitoring the deep-water pipeline to ensure its integrity and reliable detection of subsurface leaks.

The APNU+AFC MP also recommended that the health, safety and environmental risks with mitigative actions posed by the shallow draft and worsening marine traffic congestion at the mouth of the Demerara river be examined.

He said what is needed is an analysis of the economic, social and environmental renewable alternatives such as solar, hydropower, and wind, including an energy mix with phasing, in keeping with Guyana’s overall effort to achieve a low carbon economy and compliance with the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“Be it further resolved that when completed these studies be submitted to the Natural Resources Committee of the Parliament, who shall after examination, present a report to this Assembly,” Patterson said, adding:

“Be it further resolved that the Gas-to-Shore Project’s final decision be put on hold until the National Resources Committee presents it reports to Parliament for debate and approval.” The motion submitted was seconded by AFC Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan.

It was projected by Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo that the gas-to-shore pipeline will not be completed until 2023. Jagdeo said that the project was diverted to the Wales Estate as it could pose an environmental threat if it were to be built in the highly populated area of Region Four.

He said: “…to bring that so close to the city and the population center will be disastrous.” Jagdeo also stated that after assessment, the Wales location was found to be less costly and the Government would be creating a “master plan” for the development of the area.

The Opposition, however, disagrees. Patterson has dubbed the decision as “a classic case of putting the cart before the horse”. He has also knocked the decision highlighting that the Demerara River is Guyana’s busiest; the river is fast-flowing and a submarine cable to bring power to the main load centre is likely disastrous.



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