By Devina Samaroo
Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources of Newfoundland and Labrador, Siobhan Coady has pledged her country’s commitment to helping Guyana develop its oil and gas industry in a manner that will bring tremendous benefits to its people.
With more than 20 years in the lucrative industry, the Canadian Province boasts of having transformed its economy and increase the wealth of its people, and it is now willing to share its experiences to ensure Guyana achieves similar successes.
To this end, Minister Coady and Guyana’s Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on oil and gas at the Ministry of the Presidency, Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, Guyana on Monday.
The three-year agreement provides for the facilitation of economic cooperation and business opportunities between Guyana and the Canadian Province. There are currently 22 Canadian companies in Guyana looking for investment opportunities.
Specifically, the MoU provides for the two parties to collaborate in areas of supply chain development, joint ventures and exchanges, knowledge transfer, technology development, training and health, safety and the environment.
In a subsequent interview at the Marriott Hotel, the Canadian Minister recommended that the Guyana Government put certain critical frameworks in place before first oil in 2020.
These are regulations for safety, systems for the people to benefit from the sector, and a platform to improve local knowledge of the industry.
She explained that in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government did a lot of joint ventures with experts worldwide in order to build local capacity.
“We grew our supply and service industry by inviting in experts and companies around the world that were already in offshore oil and gas. They came in and joint venture partnered with our local supply and service industry and helped them grow,” Minister Coady said.
The Province is in a position to share its vast knowledge with Guyana, which, she said, can, in turn, share its success stories with subsequent new emerging oil-producing nations.
Newfoundland and Labrador have been producing oil for 20 years, the Minister said, adding that there are currently five producing projects off its shore.
With a current production of 240,000 barrels of oil per day, she noted that the economy has been dramatically transformed and opportunities have been created for the people.
There are approximately 5000 persons directly employed by the industry, she said, noting that countless others reap benefits indirectly.
“It has grown our economy, given the government good royalties for reinvestment, grown supply and service sector, good opportunities for growth …
“In terms of Canada, we have one of the highest revenues per population in the country and that certainly has helped us grown our economy,” she stated.
The Canadian Minister added that the petroleum industry has also boosted its innovation capacity and education system.
Minister Coady hopes that Guyana can learn from the experiences of Newfoundland and Labrador, and that, eventually, the province can also learn from Guyana.