Border Trade fuel allowed but restricted – GEA

May 14, 2014

[] – The Guyana Energy Agency has allowed “border trade” along border areas to the west as long as the materials being brought into Guyana are being utilised within the border area.

This statement was made in response to questions being raised about the use of fuel sourced “unofficially” by persons in border locations. The GEA explained that “for fuel, this applies to all of Region 1; down the Cuyuni to below Aranka in Region 7, and sub-Region 1 of Region 8. At this time, fuel supplied from our coast to Region 9 is generally less costly from fuel coming across the Brazilian border. Government does not consider fuel traded across the border as illegal in the areas mentioned”.

Referring to a massive fire at Port Kaituma which occurred after a boat moored alongside the wharf exploded, a few months ago, the GEA explained that fires and explosions fall under the purview/responsibility of the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) and the Guyana Police Force (GPF).

In fact, the agency noted that the GFS is preparing a report which will be the basis for discussions amongst relevant Government Agencies and other stakeholders.

Officers of the GEA routinely visit the area at least twice per year to learn about what is happening in the location. The Task Force on Fuel Smuggling and Contraband has also, in the past, visited the communities.

Persons found transporting or selling illegal fuel will be prosecuted according to the GEA, particularly as it results in loss of revenue from related tax losses and negatively affects legitimate businesses.

The agency reiterated that illegal fuel can also affect consumers owing to the fact that usually, the smuggled fuel is often of a lower quality than the legally imported product. The GEA has discovered that often the illegal fuel is smuggled in dirty containers and it is exposed to salt water (sea water), resulting in contamination. The use of contaminated fuel damages equipment such as fuel pumps, block injectors, fuel filters and spark plugs. There are also safety concerns attached to having illegal fuel in one’s possession, the GEA explained. “In trying to hide an illegal operation a person may compromise safety to conceal the said operation.”

A Bulk Transportation Licence is required from the GEA if a person is transporting an aggregate quantity of 2000 litres of petroleum and petroleum products in a vehicle, vessel or boat. As part of its licencing process for the bulk transportation of fuel in boats/vessels, GEA’s officers conduct inspections of the facilities and operators are required to submit: Petroleum Licence from the GFS, Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) Inspection Certificate, Captain’s Licence and a Vessel Licence.