By Devina Samaroo
With significant pressure already on public and private entities to shape up to benefit from the lucrative petroleum sector, a regional firm stands ready to make local potential suppliers internationally certified to stand a better chance at winning contracts.
Qual-Eco Limited, based in Trinidad and Tobago, aims to elevate businesses to the global platform through the alignment of business processes to international standards.
“Quality management” has become a compulsory requirement for companies that are intent on capitalising on the opportunities available in the oil and gas sector, Qual-Eco founder, Selwyn Peter Medina stated.
The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) – a local business umbrella organisation – recently expressed its frustration with the small amount of Guyanese firms benefitting from contracts being awarded by major oil companies operating in Guyana.
But Budget Director Sonya Roopnauth and Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge are among those who have been calling on local businesses to step up their game to ensure they offer quality products and services that are competitive on a global market.
“It is not a question of buying something from (someone) because he is a Guyanese or acquiring the services from someone simply because they are Guyanese. It is necessary to ensure that they are certified not by the company but at an international level,” Minister Greenidge had explained at a news conference in July 2018.
According to Medina, his company aims to do just that by offering its consultancy services to Guyanese firms.
“Qual-Eco is looking to engage organisations that are intent on providing products and services to the oil and gas sector. Our intention is to ensure that the companies we partner with will be able to be preferred suppliers to the oil and gas sector,” he explained.
Founded in 1998, Qual-Eco has already worked with local entities like the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc. back in 2012 under an Inter-American Development (IDB) project to make the utility company certified with the ISO 9001:2008 Quality Standard.
On the heels of the signing of a cooperation agreement between Guyana and Trinidad, Medina says his company, like many others from the twin-island republic, is very excited about investing in Guyana.
“The twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago has over 100 years of experience in the oil and gas sector, so the country can transfer that experience to Guyana. Qual-Eco intends being one of the companies to start that process,” Medina said.
Qual-Eco’s portfolio of services includes:
- Implementation of ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems
- Implementation of ISO 45001:2018 Health and Safety Management Systems and Safe To Work Systems (STOW).
- Implementation of ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management Systems
- Implementation of ISO 22000 Food Safety Management Systems and H.A.C.C.P
- Excellence in Customer Service
- Business Process Re-Engineering, Root-Cause Analysis and Process Improvement Tools and Techniques
In fact, many companies are already taking steps to become internationally certified.
The Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS), which recently attained its ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems Certificate, is working with an estimated 20 firms to implement two management system standards: the ISO 9001 and the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) food safety.
Apart from preparing companies to benefit from the oil and gas industry, efforts are being made to ensure persons themselves become attractive candidates for hiring super-majors.
Earlier this year, TotalTec Oilfield Services launched its International Petroleum and Maritime Academy at Houston, East Bank of Demerara (EBD) with the aim of offering more than 100 courses to prepare Guyanese to join the industry.
ExxonMobil, which is gearing up to start production offshore in two years, has also been training locals for the industry, with about 52% of its local workforce being Guyanese.
The Government’s Department of Public Information (DPI) had reported in March 2018 that there are roughly 500 Guyanese who are employed at the company’s on the drill rigs, shore bases and affiliate office.
The Noble Bob Douglas, which has been contracted to drill the production wells for ‘First Oil’ in 2020, has 160 personnel on board of which 23 are Guyanese in the positions of catering, roustabouts, clerks, logistics and one doctor.
ExxonMobil also provided 61,000 training hours for workers and hired three facilities engineer graduates, two from the University of Guyana and one from the University of the West Indies.
The country’s premiere tertiary educational facility – the University of Guyana – is gearing up to roll out oil and gas training by next year. Private universities like Nations have already launched programmes in the field of oil and gas.
Guyana is poised to become a major oil producing nation, with ExxonMobil alone having already made nine discoveries in the Stabroek Bloc, the most recent being Hammerhead-1.
Hammerhead-1 is located approximately 13 miles (21 kilometers) southwest of the Liza-1 well and follows previous discoveries on the Stabroek Block at Liza, Liza Deep, Payara, Snoek, Turbot, Ranger, Pacora and Longtail.
Those previous discoveries led to the announcement of an estimated recoverable resource of more than 4 billion oil-equivalent barrels discovered to date, and the potential for up to five floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels producing more than 750,000 barrels per day by 2025.