Regional transport infrastructure critical to expanding trade relations – President Ali

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali has highlighted the critical role that regional transportation plays in boosting trade relations and expanding the energy landscape.

During his detailed address at the opening of the Guyana Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo on Monday, at the Marriott Hotel, Kingston, Georgetown, the president spoke of the heightened demand for logistics and transport services, as Guyana moves to position itself to meet regional demands.

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali

The conference, previously dubbed the International Energy Conference and Expo, has been rebranded to include ‘Supply Chain’, and according to the president, this aims to reflect the importance of this area of expertise within the regional context.

A valuable step in this direction will be taken through a collaboration between the governments of Guyana, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago.

This collaboration will see the launching of a shipping asset for the movement of cargo. The venture will serve as a test to prove that the model for investment in the regional transport infrastructure is highly profitable.

“It is profitable and it helps us to achieve the goals of integration, greater level of trade between ourselves, and food security. So, our development partners in the region allow us the opportunity of having off-takers for the commodities that we want to produce,” the president said.

Using the hallmark Wales Gas to Energy project to support this point, the head of state pointed out that energy development is a key element of supporting regional integration goals.  

The project features three crucial components, the construction of a 250km pipeline to deliver natural gas to shore, the establishment of a 300-megawatt combine cycle and NGL facility, and upgrades to transmission line substations.

“Our future depends on reliable, efficient energy. Currently, we do not have this. We do not have reliable, efficient energy. We do not have the quantum of energy, the drive in industrialsation and manufacturing that is critically needed for the country’s development. So, this project is extremely critical to give us, first of all, the efficiency, and the reliability,” he stressed.

Given that the project has the capacity to reduce the cost of electricity by 50 per cent, the head of state pointed out that once operationalised, it will give Guyana a competitive edge within the industrial markets.

However, this alone will not be enough to meet the growing energy demand, the president lamented.

“We have already seen that the second phase of gas coming in will have to support a second power plant. That is based on the interest…In manufacturing, in industrial development, in agro-processing…The growth in the demand of power is going to be enormous because we are going to propel that growth by fiscal incentive regime and investment drive. We’re going to push forward for manufacturing industrial development and agro-processing,” he explained.

With this development, there is additional demand for transport and logistics infrastructure.

In this first phase, the pipeline has the capacity to prepare 4000 barrels of natural gas per day.

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali and Prime Minister Brigadier Mark Phillips interacting with investors

According to President Ali, local consumption amounts to 800 barrels per day, which leaves 3200 barrels available for export.

“This has to be moved. It has to be transported. And here is where the bridge linked to Suriname across the Corentyne River is key and critical. That is why we are pushing to advance the building of this bridge so that the market in Suriname becomes available. Then of course we’re now building out the road to Northern Brazil…122 kilometers of that road is under construction, 45 bridges. All of that investment we are already making, so that that market becomes immediately available,” the Guyanese leader expounded.

At full capacity, it is estimated that the project will bring in 10,000 natural gas per day.

“This means for us that even with the growth in our demand, we will have 9000 barrels per day ready for export. This translates to us being able to fulfill to a large extent, all of CARICOM’s needs it will lead us to fulfill all of the Roraima’s needs.  This is the economic link that it creates,” President Ali noted.

He reasoned that the government’s heavy focus on roads, bridges and other infrastructural projects is backed by a forward-thinking approach in creating economic links for additional revenue streams.

The Guyana Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo is being held from February 19-22, at the Marriott Hotel, Kingston, Georgetown, under the theme, “Fuelling Transformation and Modernisation”.

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