It is clear that the population of Guyana is now beginning to get more excited about the potential of the oil industry to positively change the country and confidence in the eventual development of the industry has been steadily growing over the past year.
The Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago took a delegation of 58 persons from energy service companies to Guyana in what was the largest trade mission for the Chamber and possibly the largest outgoing trade mission from Trinidad and Tobago. This is testimony to the interest and excitement which the local, regional and global energy sector have towards Guyana. The South American nation recently shot into the limelight because of the discovery by Exxon of a potential recoverable resource of 800 million to 1.4 billion oil-equivalent barrels. Within the oil industry, anything over 500 million barrels of recoverable resources is considered a giant field.
The government of Guyana has acknowledged that much still needs to be done to make them ready to realise the benefits of the recent developments. They have started to incrementally put the institutional capacity in place.
While on the trade mission, the Energy Chamber met with the newly created Oil and Gas Association, though the official public launch of this Association only took place on October 11th. One of the initiating directors of the new Association, Nigel Hughes, was able to share some of the plans that his organisation had for the development of the sector. EnergyNow subsequently got in touch with Mr. Hughes to discuss their plans around local content development.
When asked about the mood amongst the private sector in Guyana around the oil find, Mr. Hughes indicated that the private sector is guardedly optimistic about the oil find. The Guyanese private sector is keenly aware that it is a world-class find but they are aware that they do not have a history in the industry. Also of concern was the lack of adequate institutional frameworks to manage the sector coupled with capacity challenges in almost every aspect of the sector.
In terms of what local companies in Guyana were doing to prepare for the anticipated energy sector development, Hughes responded that some companies were attempting to get certified at appropriate levels for the provision of goods and services to the industry. Others were exploring the possibility of retraining staff.
Hughes was also asked about some of the challenges the private sector in Guyana would face in terms of capitalising on the anticipated development. He indicated that they were challenged in terms of competitive capacity in the sector, inadequate wharf and port facilities and paucity of appropriate technical skills.
He also added that training institutions were not appropriately equipped and geared for the new industry. Generally, he thought there was inadequate appreciation of the urgency of getting up to speed by first oil.
When asked about the potential partnerships that could be forged between the Trinidad private sector and the private sector in Guyana as it relates to oil and gas development, Hughes indicated that there was great potential in this area since Trinidad has the advantage of a long history in the sector, high levels of technical capacity and general familiarity with the Guyanese business landscape. He added that he anticipates joint ventures between Trinidadian and Guyanese entities which blend their strengths to enable the growth of a stranger local and regional capacity in the sector.