Just when it appeared that the big Chinese state firms were winning most of the large state contracts, an American company has just sealed a $760 million bid to construct two plants that will convert gas from offshore oil fields and convert it to cheap electricity. Officials say the door is now wide open for other American firms to cash in huge state projects in Guyana.
Houston, Texas-based Lindsayca and CH-4 out of Puerto Rico are partnering to build the 300 megawatt plant on Guyana’s west coast to utilize millions of cubic feet of gas now being mostly burned off by a consortium led by ExxonMobil after discovering commercial quantities of oil and gas back in 2015.
Once the natural gas and liquid gas plants are completed over the next two years, much of the gas from at least three oilfields that would be in operation would be piped ashore to be converted to electricity, possibly ending decades of rolling blackouts and reducing expensive fuel imports for the current stock of fossil plants here President Irfaan Ali said at a signing ceremony late Tuesday.
At the ceremony, US Ambassador Sarah Ann Lynch wasted no time in pointing out that the deal with the two firms will certainly set the stage for a plethora of other American companies bidding for large state and private sector contracts. Chinese state companies have been winning hundreds of millions of dollars in multiple projects in the former British colony including a $200 million project to modernize the local airport, lengthen the runway from 7,400 feet to nearly 11,000 and install more than half a dozen jet bridges.
Earlier this year, China Railway Construction won the $260 million bid to build a fixed, four-lane bridge over the Georgetown Harbor, connecting the east and west coast, while it also won a $184 million contract to widen and modernize the main east coast highway connecting the city with Suriname. And of the six companies bidding to construct a border bridge between Guyana and Suriname, five are Chinese and the lone exception comes from The Netherlands. But based on remarks from Ambassador Lynch, the situation of Chinese dominance is beginning to change.
“I think the most exciting thing for me about this Lindsayca /CH4- Guyana relationship is that it will very likely unlock amazing opportunities for even more US businesses to look at Guyana as a destination for their investments. We look forward to delivering additional US partners to you very soon.”
While visiting Guyana two years ago, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had complained bitterly about China’s commercial relations with Third World countries like Guyana. “We don’t apply political pressure connected to our commercial enterprises. There are other nations that operate very differently. China operates very differently. The Chinese Communist Party shows up with its military and commercial deeply intertwined,” he said. “We bring capital, we’ll bring resources, we’ll often bring technological capabilities that are much needed to develop resources, develop infrastructure for your country, but we don’t do so with political strings tied to them. We don’t operate the way other regimes do, who might show up with money and then demand political retribution, or worse yet, engage in activity that is corrupt,” in a scathing attack on China.