In a recent article published online on March 6 by the media outlet, Demerara Waves, it was reported that Rudolf Elias, Managing Director of Staatsolie of Suriname that Suriname has neither the interest nor the logistical and technical capacity to refine crude oil which is to be extracted in Guyana from the recently discovered Exxon wells.
The article pointed out the stark contrast of this fact with claims purportedly made by Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman that Guyana will be seeking to refine its crude oil in Suriname and is also evaluating similar possibilities in Trinidad and Tobago. The latter appears to have been contradicted by officials of Petrotrin in Trinidad given certain technical realities related to the required reconfiguration of the extant refinery.
It should be noted that the Minister appears to have developed a ‘sweet spot’ for a 2 billion dollar quotation for a refinery to be located in Guyana often citing the price tag as prohibitive.
This number continues to be bandied around despite factual information that points to a clear advantage for Guyana should it engage in an objective analysis of the applicability and irrefutable desirability of modern modular refinery technology, which is significantly cheaper and has been proposed by private investors partnered with the world’s premier designer and builder of refineries utilizing this technology.
It is perhaps timely to remind of the clear advantages to Guyana that modern modular refinery technology will provide. Guyana, in spite of our desire to embrace the various modalities of a Green economy, must recognize that refining our own crude and seeking a green economy are not mutually exclusive, and one should not be pursued to the disadvantage and/or stultification of the other. There are clear national strategic advantages that will result from a local refinery.
Modular refinery technology is significantly advanced with respect to environmental concerns and has met and surpassed the requirements of some of the most rigid environmental regulatory regimes in the United States and worldwide.
Modular refinery technology will provide a platform for the advancement of a national initiative towards increased industrialization with the concomitant technical training and certification for its employees, as well as vertically integrated job creation that will have a significant positive impact on our local economy. Although we have outlined some of the range of benefits in a prior letter to the press, we will enumerate several meaningful benefits below:
- decrease in prices of domestic refined fuel and refined energy products with lowered power generation, transportation and manufacturing costs;
- downward pressure on the smuggled fuel into the local economy. This is significant as recent conservative estimates of smuggled fuel approached over US$750M in recent years.
- Net job growth for administrative and support positions;
- net job growth for technical and managerial positions;
- increase in business and entrepreneurial activity in support service industries;
- investment in training and education in the petroleum sector;
- self-reliance with respect to supply of government security services and other vital government services.
We reiterate that Guyana must objectively analyze this emerging oil sector with its own national interests being paramount.
We appreciate the insight of the plethora of ‘consultants’ but our national patrimony cannot be subjugated as they deliver their opinions and advice. Those who advise against a small modular refinery are providing advice that is unquestionably inimical to Guyana’s national and economic interests.
Edward Meertins George