GHK Lall seems to be grasping at straws on the onshore gas project
I read with great surprise the letter in a caption, “If gas is on shore so good, then ship the goods to Guyanese” by GHK Lall carried in the April 8th issue of the Kaieteur News. I am one who is known to respect my elders and it would not be nice for me to say that his letter has the ramblings and thoughts of someone mentally unfit to be taken seriously. Mr Lall seems to be grasping at a straw when one understands the true focus of the intended attack. As I often hear my mother scolding me, “there’s a method to the madness”.
I totally agree, though, when he said his views were “far … limited”. I might add, it is neither scholarly nor academic, to say the least when referring to government energy projects. Firstly, under the Low Carbon Development Strategy the idea of using solar panels was widely accepted as a way of cleaner renewable energy. This led to the government of Bharrat Jagdeo introducing it in the regions and districts of Guyana’s remote hinterland. We continued this by publishing and issuing solar panels to communities before pressing for its use to become more residential and commercial.
This should not be confused with the Gas to the Beach Energy Project when comparing sector benefits. As local Financial Analyst Joel Bhagwandin says, “The Government’s gas-to-shore transition project is underway and is expected to be completed by 2023. The main objective is to transport sufficient gas from the Stabroek block petroleum operations to supply around 200-250 megawatts of energy to the national grid, leading to a significant reduction in electricity costs ”.
He reasoned, only to Mr Lall’s school, “Reducing the cost of energy would not only make the country more competitive in that we could export more, with the objective of a trade balance surplus, but we would also save foreign exchange because we spend more than $ 500 million a year to import fuel ”.
And finally he said “So, if the gas on the shore meant we get cheaper electricity, we will push industrialization and reduce manufacturers’ costs. It also means we’re going to save about $ 250 million or more in fuel imports ”.
Mr Jagdeo therefore has our interests at the heart of the pursuit of this project from all directions. The challenges facing the projects are not insurmountable to prevent it from being fully pursued. He has shown that with the right skill set and policy direction, anything is achievable. Mr Jagdeo is not getting any disadvantage or side deal with what he is doing for the project as Pro Vice-Chancellor in Government. He understands how the energy, gas and oil sectors work rather than the last government he didn’t.
Guyana has the right skills and policies to move forward into the future. I am confident that Guyana will be safe and that the renewable energy projects (both) are in safe hands.