SURINAME – Agriculture Solutions Study
Scope of services provided
During 2010-2015 Booker Tate undertook an agriculture solutions study and other downstream consultancy advisory work for the Wageningen Ethanol Project in the Nickerie District of Suriname for the state oil company (Staatsolie).
The study was a full “bankable standard” feasibility study of the agriculture development and involved a multi-disciplinary team of agronomists, agriculture engineers, civil engineer, HR specialist and financial analyst from Booker Tate working in conjunction with the Client’s project team and other external specialists working on environmental studies, soil survey, aerial LiDAR mapping, the pilot project and the industrial plant.
A workshop was held with the Client’s team and other consultants on conclusion of the Final Report to review all the interfaces, Pilot Project results, capital and operating costs, development challenges and the next steps required to progress the project implementation.
Following the completion of the agriculture solutions study in early 2012 Booker Tate was engaged in further activities preparing agricultural equipment procurement specifications, design and tender documentation for EPC land development, providing technical advice on the sugarcane to ethanol processing plant and supervising the development of land for a seedcane nursery using GPS precision land levelling.
Staatsolie’s objectives for the project were to provide a renewable and sustainable supply of ethanol from sugarcane to blend with their gasoline production such that their natural oil reserves could be extended. Staatsolie purchased long-abandoned rice lands near Wageningen for the purpose of supplying the sugarcane feedstock to a new ethanol production facility with cogeneration capability.
The project area was located in the coastal plain of Suriname, and below sea level, which presented a unique set of challenges for drainage, salinity control, irrigation, tillage, harvesting and transport. However, the natural heavy clay soils were very fertile and able to sustain high yielding cane crops as proved at the Pilot Project area where over 15 different varieties, propagated via tissue culture, were trialled.
The total cane area identified comprised 12 125 ha with some 50% being brownfield development of old rice plantations and 50% being greenfield development. Existing infrastructure was adapted in the proposed design for mechanised operations and to provide a dual drainage/irrigation network.
The project did not proceed to implementation due to the high production cost of ethanol compared to world prices and a change to Staatsolie’s business model.