Gov’t looking to engage Trinidad consultant on local content

-ExxonMobil says over 2000 Guyanese supporting local operations

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Local Content has been a major part of discussion on the petroleum industry and President Irfaan Ali on Tuesday evening disclosed that the Government is looking to engage Trinidad’s Anthony Paul, the main consultant from the Association of Caribbean Energy Specialists.

“We are sticking to our commitment in ensuring that the industry as far as possible, provide opportunities for not only the local private sector but Guyanese as a whole here and in the diaspora, wherever the skillset is,” Ali told the media at the sidelines of an event on the West Coast of Demerara.

He added that he’s noticed the media quoting Paul on several occasions over the past months and therefore is looking to engage him on some of the points shared.

“I’ve also asked the Vice President [Bharrat Jagdeo] to make contact with Mr. Anthony Paul and to see his availability and whether he is able to come and work with us in relation to the local content policy- all of this is critical in us moving forward,” the President said.

President of Guyana, Dr Irfaan Ali

While the previous APNU+AFC Government compiled a Local Content Policy, there has been no local content legislation as a result of the political impasse towards the end of that administration’s tenure.

Paul, in December 2016, completed a Rapid Analysis of the State of Readiness of Guyana’s Hydrocarbon Regulatory Framework and submitted a report to the former Government. In his report, he recommended that anyone who is engaged to support the Government must also engage in capacity building to ensure the knowledge is passed onto Guyanese.

Recently, Paul pointed out in an interview with Kaieteur Radio that the current Production Sharing Agreement signed with ExxonMobil and its partners does not contain one provision securing Guyana’s right to approve how much is spent by the companies –costs which will be recovered. But he said the Government can use its approval of Exxon’s Field Development Plans to negotiate certain conditions.

President Ali on Tuesday announced that the Payara Field Development Plan is undergoing review before it is approved.

ExxonMobil which owns 45% stake in the Stabroek Block on Wednesday said more than 2000 Guyanese are supporting its local operations offshore, representing 55 percent of the total workforce.

It said Guyana’s direct workforce grew to 155 –more than 50 percent of which are Guyanese –in the first half of 2020.

According to a statement, the company said capacity building is an ongoing process and more than 100,000 hours of training was provided to Guyanese staff as of the first half of 2020.

“Approximately 80 percent was in the areas of Professional/Technical and Craft/Trade training.  More than 50 Guyanese have trained internationally in countries such as Brazil, Canada, Singapore, Trinidad, United Arab Emirates and United States, to gain hands on oil and gas experience to leverage in Guyana,” Exxon said.

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, in the first half of 2020 over GYD$14 billion was spent locally, the company said while more than 600 Guyanese suppliers were used for services ranging from foodstuff to engineering.

“What we’ve done to date is remarkable, and I want to build on our local content accomplishments. Continued growth of Guyanese capabilities is exactly what we want to see and we remain committed to supporting this development,” said President of ExxonMobil Guyana Alistair Routledge, according to the statement.

New President of ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge

The ExxonMobil run Centre for Local Business Development remained supportive of local businesses with a transition to virtual courses.

Additionally, nearly 100 electronic tender notifications were released to over 2400 Guyanese companies, and the Centre continued mentorship of 10 Guyanese companies in the process to be compliant in the ISO 9001 quality management system.

Looking ahead, Routledge emphasized the importance of the timely approvals for future development projects like Payara, noting, “continual development of projects will help further progress local content and provide opportunities and confidence to the local business community, which will lead to additional opportunities for workers and continued capacity building.”

In addition to local content efforts, ExxonMobil Guyana said it contributed more than GYD$80 million to education, women and community empowerment, and environmental sustainability programmes in the first half of 2020.

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