In order to ensure that the Government of Guyana is able to track the amount of oil that will be extracted by ExxonMobil, Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman says gauges and pumps will be installed for 24-hour onshore and offshore monitoring of the production.
After making a presentation on the oil and gas industry before the parliamentary sectoral committee on Natural Resources on Wednesday, Trotman was questioned by committee member Jermaine Figueira on whether the data suggesting that there is 800 million to 1.4 billion barrels of oil was solely based on what was provided by ExxonMobil and whether the government was taking steps to do its own investigation to ascertain the actual find.
“The government has been using several different means of corroborating and cross-referencing the information and yes we maybe were told one thing and it may be far more or far less. We are using other independent sources and contractors to tell us what there is,” Trotman said, while pointing out that one indicator of the volume of the find is the Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) Vessel that is currently being retrofitted in Singapore.
“I should add that at the time of production, one of the things we will have to do is put gauges and pumps so that we can independently verify quantities. There is going to be real-time monitoring, both onshore and offshore, on a 24-hour basis to ensure that production is as it is said to be,” Trotman told the committee.
Additionally, to have a more exact figure, Trotman pointed out that the ministry is currently going through ExxonMobil’s application for a production licence, which will have to state and verify the quantity of oil.
In terms of natural gas, Trotman also explained that they were able to confirm the availability of some 50 million cubic feet of gas per day, which could be vital to an alumina plant.
However, committee member Odinga Lumumba highlighted that the amount of energy that the natural gas would produce would not be enough to power an alumina plant and urged that government consider another option. “It will take about 400MW to drive an alumina smelt so it will be a lot of gas. So, I rather we focus on supporting the current power plants,” Lumumba said, while questioning whether the government was using its own source or expert to determine whether the natural gas or water should be used to increase the petroleum productivity, to which Trotman echoed his previous sentiments that the government will not only rely on data provided by ExxonMobil.
However, Trotman added that the transportation of the fuel will be costly.