Successful industries depend on effective legislation
- Canadian High Commissioner
By Leon Suseran
The Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, His Excellency Dr David Devine has said that the oil and gas sector is one of the most profitable sectors in the world, but successful industries depend on several variables, which include implementation of effective policies and legislation to ensure sustainable developmental gains for all Guyanese.
Berbice, he said sits on the pinnacle of growth with a possibility of an oil and gas industry. The High Commissioner was speaking to business persons at the Central Corentyne Chambers of Commerce (CCCC) Award Ceremony and Dinner last weekend at the Albion Estate Senior Staff Club.
Devine mentioned the fact that the recent oil and gas exploration pursuits in Guyana have not been as favourable as we had anticipated, “but it does not mean that a discovery [of oil and gas] will not be made”.
In alluding to past examples in the development of oil fields in his homeland of Canada, Devine stated that there was one word that was the key, ‘persistence’.
“You need to build incrementally on the drilling research to effectively target a commercial field.”
According to the Canadian High Commissioner, in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada, 42 wells were drilled before the first commercial discovery of oil.
“Today, they have discovered 3.1billion barrels of crude and oil reserves and 17.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas”. “It does take time, but it is vital that the Private Sector…seize the opportunity of natural resources to maximize in an operable way, the development of Guyana and very importantly, to ensure the windows of opportunities are not wasted.”
Berbice, by nature and geography, he said, is suited to maximize on the peripheral industries of the oil and gas sector. There are an estimated 116 secondary industries that can benefit from everything, he said, from catering to accounting to health care provisions, laboratory analysis, environmental and management.
He advised that open and transparent mechanisms to manage the gains of the sector should be evident in an equitable manner as well as local industry preparations to effectively position businesses to exploit multitudes of opportunities in the sector.
Dr Devine stated, too, that the stakeholders must be made aware of the importance of such a sector in the country’s development and its contribution to the economy, as it plays a role in poverty alleviation and bringing an end to social and economic hardships.
Canada, he stated, understands the complexities in the oil and gas industries.
“That is why we have been building our partnership with the Government of Guyana and other stakeholders to provide technical support and other assistance”.
Just over the past year, he said, Canada has arranged for a visit to Guyana of an entire team from Canada’s Labrador Offshore Development, comprising individuals in health and safety, and environment.
“With this discovery, Guyana will be presented with a unique chance to generate revenues needed to invest in education, health and infrastructure,” which he said will alleviate poverty and propel growth.
An oil and gas sector in Berbice will give eyes to new career fields, he posited.
“Here is a chance for students to increase their areas of studies and contribute to the oil industry or general business development in the region.”
The US Geological study conducted several years ago, he said, proposed that the Guyana Basin was the second largest unexplored area for hydro- carbon deposits in the world.
The oil and gas industry, he noted, is multifaceted, and Berbice must always be prepared to accept the world’s challenges of “this promising industry and also address the social economic challenges to ensure a secure and stable environment for investment”.
The right system must be put in place to capitalize on the opportunities which will result from the “potential boom” for Berbice; however “this boom also comes with social and economic costs which we must prepare to address, or else, the transformation of the lives of many of the people will not take place as we wanted it to.”
Oil companies, he said, will not allow persons who are unqualified to work on oil rigs.
Canadian oil exploration firm, CGX Energy, which failed to find oil in commercial quantities earlier this year, says it has started to negotiate with third parties to analyse its well and seismic data.
Additionally, the company has applied to the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) for an extension of its onshore and offshore concessions, some of which are due to expire in late November.
CGX failed to find oil in commercial quantities in concessions offshore Corentyne, Berbice, and had announced that it was still interested in drilling for oil in Guyana and as such was re-examining its options.