High cost of power drives investors away, says business group in most vigorous push yet for Gas-to-Energy project

Senior Vice President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Richard Rambarran, said seven out of every 10 investors who interact with the Chamber, end up postponing their investment decisions in Guyana, deterred by the country’s persistent electricity woes.

“When they find out where we are in this hemisphere regarding the cost of electricity, they are driven away,” he stated.

This problem was noted as an underscore of the need for the Gas-to-Energy project to support Guyana’s development and, specifically, the private sector. The project will utilize offshore natural gas for power generation.

Rambarran made his comment during a Feb. 14 press conference, in what may have been the organization’s strongest public endorsement yet of the natural gas project. Several past presidents of the GCCI showed up to advocate for the project alongside current leader, Kester Hutson.

The Gas-to-Energy project is expected to facilitate a reduction in emissions associated with power generation, and a reduction in the cost of power by 50%.

Rambarran, who heads the GCCI’s Petroleum Committee, said that 30 to 40% of the operating cost of every single enterprise is electricity. In this regard, he argued that the Gas-to-Energy project has transformative potential to lower these costs and, in turn, enable the provision of cost-competitive goods and services across the board. He explained further that this reduction would cause multiplier benefits for the private sector.

“This will be the single greatest investment in the future generations that we can give,” he added.

The Senior Vice President said no dollar value can be placed on Guyana being in control of its energy value chain, from cradle to grave. He argued, particularly in the context of global geopolitical events, such as Russia’s war in Ukraine, that Guyana should strive to insulate itself. He criticized the stance of some commentators as “anti-national” for opposing the Gas-to-Energy project arguing that their opposition to the project undermines Guyana’s pursuit of energy independence.

The project will replace heavy fuel oil (HFO) with natural gas as the source of power generation. But despite the net positive effect this would have on emissions reduction, the project’s opponents argue for renewable energy projects instead of fossil fuels. There have been attempts to obstruct the project through court cases and other appeals. Its progression even faces foreign opposition.

Kester Hutson, GCCI President emphasized the project’s potential to bolster small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are currently hampered by the lack of cost-effective electricity services. The project, according to Hutson, “will add great value to Guyana and to the grid,” a sentiment underscored by the chamber’s engagement with the project’s contractor, LNDCH4, during a recent Houston visit.

The project is in development and is expected to deliver gas to shore in 2025.

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