Nov 18, 2016 News
“The announcement by offshore oil explorer ExxonMobil on Wednesday, that it had struck oil in
commercial quantities, is a watershed moment in Guyana’s history; one that impacts the very underpinnings of our previous existence as a people.
“This moment will alter the DNA of our present and future constructs – politically, economically and socially,” said Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, yesterday.
He was addressing the opening of a two-day seminar hosted by the Ministry of Natural Resources in partnership with British organization, Chatham House, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Natural Resources Governance Institute.
The seminar is being held at Cara Lodge, Georgetown. It is designed to educate companies and agencies in the public and private sectors on how to properly manage the emerging oil industry.
In May 2015, ExxonMobil reported its discovery of hydrocarbons in the Liza-1 exploration well. The well was drilled by ExxonMobil affiliate, Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd. (ESSO), and its joint venture participants Hess Guyana Exploration Limited and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited.
It is just over a year since this report was made. Minister Trotman said much has transpired and the Government is in the process of transforming the nation.
“We now know that the Liza well contains a substantial deposit of hydrocarbons that are estimated to be within a range of 800 million to 1.4 billion barrels of high quality crude oil – possibly closer to the upper range.
ExxonMobil and its joint venture partners have been working around the clock gathering data, assessing the reservoir, taking preparatory steps towards production and performing many investment calculations.
These led them to make Guyanese history by being the first to formally notify the Government of Guyana, in keeping with the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act Cap 65:01, that the discovery of oil is of commercial interest.”
Minister Trotman said that the announcement was the trumpet call that heralds the coming of “first oil”.
He added that there is now great expectation, great excitement and great responsibility in the weeks and months ahead.
The Politician said that that even the content of the neighbourly “over the fence gyaff”, will be altered forever.
This historic occurrence is further highlighted by the juxtaposition of today’s oil price, he said, which hovers around what ought to be a ‘discouraging’ US$50 per barrel.
“Yet this price offers us the unique and valuable opportunity to plan the development of our petroleum sector wisely and prudently – we have entered the petroleum industry at a conservative and watchful time when literally every cent matters more than ever. Our focus is directed into deliberate considerations of the possible returns on such an investment and how to maximize them for the benefit of our nation not just today but for generations to come.
“In local parlance, the oil price has immediately caused us to consider how to stretch our dollars”.
Minister Trotman said that Guyana is being proactive in its approach to this emerging
sector to ensure that all mechanisms necessary for the effective management and the best outcomes for its people are in place even before the first barrel of oil is sold.
The government, with support from the New Petroleum Producers Group, will seek to build the capacity of policy makers, officers, technicians, private sector professionals and other interest groups on the issues and challenges surrounding this emerging sector, Trotman said.
He added that the government recognises the need for a highly skilled workforce and therefore, revamping the public education system and integrating the supply and demand of labour into a flexible, technical vocational education and training system to rapidly raise skills.
Minister Trotman said that the government also recognises those Guyanese who can participate in this sector today, and also the need to ensure room for those who can participate in the near and distant future.
“This precious resource is ours. It is a significant part of our national patrimony and belongs to the people of Guyana. It is therefore our inescapable responsibility as a Government to ensure that this right translates into the concomitant right to work and develop within the sector. Really the sky is the limit.”
Delivering remarks also at the event was the Commissioner of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (acting) Newell Dennison, who told the gathering that Guyana is not looking for “cut and paste” solutions but rather, solutions that are suitable for the country’s advancement.
“What we would want to implement is a substantial commitment to changing attitudes. As huge as petroleum is, there are things that could undermine it. An inefficient petroleum sector quickly becomes a liability; it could quickly become a white elephant” he pointed out.
He further underscored that “the programme is not static if expectations are given due place and consideration.
“We want a lot but we must be practical. I would hope that we are able to join those who are like us, who have gone before us that Guyana would benefit with the good bounties that we have.”
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