Guyana's $1.9-B gas-to-power project delayed to 2025

(Reuters) - Guyana will delay until 2025 its biggest effort to capitalize on its energy bounty, a $1.9 billion gas-to-power project that was to start this year, using untapped gas to slash electricity costs, a Ministry of Natural Resources consultant said on Tuesday.

The rising oil producing nation relies on imported fuels in its shaky electric grid and has promised to use its oil wealth to construct a 140-mile (225 km) pipeline, gas processing facility and up to 300 megawatt (MW) power plant.

Winston Brassington, a government consultant involved in the project, said the combined-cycle power plant is delayed and full operation will not be possible until the fourth quarter of 2025.

The project suffered work delays, late equipment deliveries and issues on the foundation at the location chosen for the project, he said.

The project was an election-year pledge to its about 800,000 residents to reduce their energy costs by 50% this year.

Guyana has been seeking a $646 million loan from the Export-Import Bank of the United States to finance the onshore facilities.

Exxon Mobil Corp is currently building the $1 billion pipeline and will be reimbursed by proceeds from the country's offshore production. Guyana will pay Exxon and its partners $55 million over a 20-year period, at a fixed price with no adjustments, totaling $1.1 billion, Brassington said.

The gas pipeline is expected to be ready by the end of this year, Exxon Guyana country chief Alistair Routledge said on Tuesday at the Guyana Energy Conference and Exposition.

However, the government expects the power plant will start delivering 200 MW by June 30 next year, with project completion and delivery of 300 MW on a combined cycle by the end of 2025, Brassington said.

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