The Ministry of Natural Resources along with the Ministry of Public Infrastructure will be exploring how the natural gas from oil production can be incorporated into local energy consumption.
Plans are apace for the production of crude oil by 2020 but not much has been said of what will be done with the natural gas that will be mined with the oil.
Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman pointed out on Thursday that the Ministry is working with ExxonMobil to determine the quantity of the natural gas that would be found with the oil.
ExxonMobil’s Country Manager Jeff Simon explained to the media that the gas will be re-injected into the reservoirs when the oil is separated during the production stage. That process keeps the pressure high for the mining of the oil.
Minister Trotman noted that the government will explore the uses of the natural gas as part of the green economy agenda once the remaining quantity is determined. “The question is how much of that is going to be left over for us to possibly use for the powering of our generators for electricity in Guyana,” Minister Trotman said.
Considerations include using the natural gas to power the alumina plant on which the government is currently conducting a study to determine the feasibility of resuscitating it. Sourcing sufficient energy for the running of the plant is a major consideration in the restart.
There is also the possibility of using the natural gas “as a transition source” to greener energy sources like hydro and solar electricity. Natural gas, while not green, is cleaner than the fossil fuel that is being consumed now.
“There are matters that we are actively considering, particularly the Ministry of Public Infrastructure,” Minister Trotman noted.
However Minister Trotman cautioned that these possibilities are still very much in the exploration phase since the government will ultimately determine whether it uses or sells its natural gas.
“Looking at the price per cubic foot of gas now and what is projected in the future and what it will take to develop that and whether it makes economic sense to do anything with it,” Minister Trotman said, are some of the factors that will determine the government’s final decision.