By Abena Rockcliffe- Campbell
The Government of Norway has recently rejected Guyana’s application to get assistance from its Oil for Development (OfD) programme.
Recently, Kaieteur News learnt that the government had sent its application for the programme to be extended here and was rejected. But the government announced nothing.
When Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, was contacted he readily admitted the facts.
The Minister said, “We indeed applied for the programme to be extended to Guyana and earlier in the year I got a letter advising me that NORAD, the international aid agency, was unable to extend the programme to Guyana at the current time but would do so when the opportunity arose.”
NORAD is the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.
Trotman said that NORAD offered no reason for the rejection.
However, Kaieteur News understands that Norway is considering other issues with Guyana such as the stall and uncertainty of the Amaila Falls Hydro Project. Also, this newspaper was told that Norway is not too pleased with the Guyana Government’s intention to explore natural gas as an energy source.
Sources say that the government’s intention to use national gas though would be of major economic benefit to the country, comes across as a boycott to renewable energy which is what the Amaila project or any other hydro project would have secured.
With the scramble to prepare for first oil, Guyana is indeed in need of programmes such as the OfD which is offered to about 36 oil producing countries around the world.
The OfD programme offers assistance to developing countries in their effort to manage petroleum resources in a sustainable manner.
The operative goal of the OfD programme is “economically, environmentally and socially responsible management of petroleum resources which safeguards the needs of future generations”.
NORAD’s website states that oil and gas play an important role in an increasing number of developing countries, and has the potential to generate economic and social development. In several cases, however, it has proven difficult to translate the resource into improved welfare for citizens of those countries.
NORAD said that Norway continues to receive numerous requests from countries that wish to learn from our experience in petroleum management, which is why the Government of Norway initiated the OfD programme in 2005.
Through the OfD Programme, Norway shares its experience from more than four decades of managing oil and gas resources. Some key characteristics of the Norwegian experience are: strategic ownership by the state, strong and competent institutions; continual accumulation of technical knowledge, an advanced regulatory system with high respect for the environment, health and safety and the society’s determination to secure national control over petroleum resources.
Also, in collaboration with partner countries, the OfD programme targets poverty reduction through responsible management of petroleum resources.
The main approach of the OfD Programme is support for capacity development through institutional collaboration. This involves Norwegian public institutions entering into long-term cooperation agreements with public institutions in partner countries.
The Norwegian public institutions involved in the OfD Programme are The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, Norwegian Environment Agency, Petroleum Safety Authority Norway, Norwegian Oil Taxation Office, Norwegian Coastal Administration and Statistics Norway.
Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, the Ministry of Climate and Environment, the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of Finance oversee the assistance provided. The Programme also coordinates activities with Statistics Norway and the Office of the Auditor General of Norway.
Other partners involved in the Programme are consultancies and research institutions, multilateral actors such as the IMF and the World Bank, as well as civil society organizations.
Guyana has been taking many patterns from Ghana which started producing oil in commercial quantities through the commissioning of the Jubilee field in December 2010. Norway has provided extensive petroleum related support to the country since 2008.
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