The Ministry of Natural Resources and United States oil giant, ExxonMobil, have differing levels of local content at the preparation stage for oil production.
Ching Khoo, Project Executive at ExxonMobil repeatedly told the three-day Guyana International Petroleum Business Summit & Exhibition (GIPEX) last week that baby steps are being made to involve Guyanese businesses and workers as part of its overall local content plans.
While Exxonmobil believes that more should have been done, the Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman said that he is pleased with the progress.
Khoo explained that preparations are at an advance stage for logistics and infrastructure support for the upcoming drilling and installation campaigns.
In the area of work force development, Khoo stated that the number of full-time Guyanese employees in the preparation phase is about 48% of just over 1,000 employees. Local affiliate Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd (EEPG) currently has 64 % locals with three members of the management team being Guyanese.
Khoo stated that engineers being hired from the University of Guyana and Guyanese are undergoing training in Brazil
“These are really baby steps in terms of local content in terms of numbers. They really are baby steps, but there is potential for these trainees to have rewarding long term careers and there is potential for more hires and trainees by the other contractors for oil and gas as we continue into development. We are hopeful,” Khoo stated.
Guyana Shore Base Inc. (GYSBI), which is entering final construction phase of its onshore facility at Houston, is the only tier one company contracted by ExxonMobil. GYSBI is hoping to attract more Guyanese.
It should be noted that other important logistics elements such as helicopters, marine vessels, fuel supply, waste management are close to be procured. Khoo did not elaborate as whether Guyanese will get preferred access.
Khoo explained that the floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit or floating vessel which will extract the oil, will not require a lot of manpower.
The company has stipulated a target of 25% Guyanese on the boat in the first year of operations rising to 75% by year eight.
“Where we can use local contractors and suppliers we already are…Last year we used over 300 Guyanese businesses for goods and services, but we need to be more organically to grow the supply and capability of local companies,” Khoo stated.
EEPG noted that the centre for local business development opened last July to assist small and medium-sized businesses. It has assisted over 600 companies.
He maintained that this was also a baby step.
A local content policy is still to be produced by the Government. Nonetheless, the Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, has said he was pleased with the benefits being derived by Guyanese workforce and business sector. He noted that the Ministry is working assiduously to finalise its local content policy for the petroleum sector.
“This policy is built on the objectives of maximizing benefits for the Guyanese people and value retention from Guyana’s petroleum resources through capacity development, local content and value addition,” Trotman stated.
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