Feb 11, 2016 News
With the commencement of oil exploration here in Guyana, the University of Guyana (UG) will be tasked with introducing programmes that can prepare locals to delve into this arena. Moreover, a recently established UG
Transformational Task Force will have to give keen attention to such an undertaking.
This is according to UG Chancellor, Professor Nigel Harris, who at a press conference yesterday said, “We had better be in a position to address that particular need because in truth I can say, with the little I know, that the exploration, the ExxonMobil company, has already approached the University…in terms of the University being able to prepare the sort of people they need.”
And according to Professor Harris, “we had better be able whether or not there are programmes now or programmes to be.”
“I think already there are some programmes (or) they are in the pipelines,” added the Chancellor.
He pointed out that the University’s role in this regard is imperative since it would be extremely expensive for companies such as ExxonMobil to bring their own people to meet their exploratory needs.
“So this indeed I expect out of that Task Force (this) will be one of the key areas that will be identified in terms of meeting a human resource need,” said Professor Harris.
But according to him, there may be in some instances that UG may not have the requisite staff to meet the programme needs. As such he considered that moves will have to be made by the local university to link with international tertiary institutions.
“I am going to obviously be pushing to a great degree with the University of the West Indies which I have been connected most recently. They have trained petroleum engineers, people for the petroleum industry for the last maybe four decades and it doesn’t make sense if we have next door neighbours with that ability that we don’t link with them,” said Professor Harris. There are, however, other institutions that the national university could forge links with, the Chancellor added.
And according to him too, “even from an academic perspective we need to be making the sort of international alignments necessary to meet some of our capacity needs.”
It was just last month President David Granger, expressed Government’s support for the United States oil and gas giant, ExxonMobil, after the company reported that it will continue exploratory work in Guyana, this month.
The oil discovery is big news for Guyana which has been depending on oil imports to meet energy and transportation needs.
Oil imports account for a significant amount of the country’s foreign exchange, and the oil deposits discovery and confirmation by Exxon would come with the fact that Guyana’s neighbours are producing oil from their own wells.
Already to prepare for the advent of oil, Guyana is receiving training from the US and other foreign institutions.
The Petroleum Department, once controlled by the President, has now been placed under the direct authority of Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, which is headed by Minister Raphael Trotman.
Guyana is moving ahead also with other regulatory and necessary framework that will determine how the oil proceeds will be administered. It could however be five years before Guyana realises the benefits of oil production.
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