Ansa McAl exploring major ethanol plant in Guyana
ANSA McAl has signed an MoU with the Guyana government for the establishment of an ethanol production project.
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Thursday March 1, 2012 - A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between ANSA McAl Trading and the Guyanese government could see the development of a sugarcane-based ethanol plant that would use 2 million metric tons of cane annually to produce 40 million gallons of ethanol.
However, the project, which would be developed on 110,000 hectares of land, is not a done deal.
Following publicity surrounding the recent announcement of the six-month-old MoU signed by Anthony Sabga III, ANSA McAL Group business development executive, Dr Roger Luncheon, head of the presidential secretariat and Desmond Mohamed, the former chief executive officer of the Guyana Office for Investment, ANSA McAL officials have been at pains to point out that the project is still at an exploratory phase.
Sabga led a team of Ansa McAl officials from Trinidad to Guyana this week to counteract Guyanese media reports that the agreement with the government was a secret deal.
The agreement was signed on September 30, 2011, but it was not until last week that a statement was made by ANSA McAL disclosing that both parties were currently conducting an in-depth feasibility study, which includes infrastructure and development works; plant and equipment and rolling stock.
At a media briefing, the Ansa McAl officials stressed that the document was not legally binding to either party, but merely paved the way for an in-depth study by the company about the feasibility of establishing a world-scale ethanol fuel production plant in Guyana.
Aneal Maharaj, the Group’s Finance Director, who was the principal speaker during the interaction, point out that making the details of the agreement public would have put both the Government of Guyana and Ansa McAl at a competitive disadvantage.
“At the end of the day, this is business, and Ansa McAl competes for capital and for projects with other companies regionally, so we have to be cognizant of that reality,” he said.
He stressed that the proposed plant was at the moment just a proposal. “We are not going to talk much about an ethanol plant right now. We are still a long way from declaring that we are going to have a project. We have to complete the feasibility survey first before we move to that,” he said.
The visiting team from Ansa McAl included Melissa Chambers, who is the ethanol project Coordinator and Jose Nivet, Sector Head. Ansa McAl Guyanese representatives at the briefing were Beverly Harper, Managing Director; and Kris Appanah, Finance Director.
According to last week’s statement, the ethanol plant would tie into the Guyana government’s strategy for economic development that promotes the development of economic activities in the country in an efficient, environmentally safe and sustainable manner.
The statement said that if the world-scale biofuel project got off the ground, it would be well positioned to successfully become a low-cost, globally competitive provider of ethanol to international and regional markets.
The statement added that it was expected that through the synergies between the Guyana government and ANSA McAL the people of Guyana would benefit through the generation of entrepreneurial service industries, resultant employment and wealth creation for nationals of Guyana. It also said that Guyana would be positioned through the successful implementation of the project to become the regional leader in the development of regional policies, standards and frameworks for utilisation of alternative fuels, with the potential of reducing the region’s dependence on fossil fuels.