Senior executives of United States oil giant, ExxonMobil, are to appear before the bi-partisan Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Natural Resources to provide information about its operations in Guyana, including local content claims.
Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, has committed to provide a list to the committee, detailing the companies contracted and the services they are providing to ExxonMobil.
“It is a substantial number,” the Minister disclosed during his appearance before the Parliamentary Committee yesterday.
The list was requested by the Coalition MP, Audwin Rutherford. Committee Chairman, People’s Progressive Party (PPP) MP, Odinga Lumumba, said the company will have the opportunity to discuss local content when executives appear in the coming weeks.
ExxonMobil claims to have utilised 309 Guyanese-owned suppliers and has 605 Guyanese businesses registered in the oil sector.
However, these figures have been questioned by Chairman of the Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chamber (GOGEC) Manniram Prashad, who has called for verification.
Prashad had expressed concerns as there is no evidence provided at the same time to support the claims made by the oil company.
“We would like to have a list of the companies and the services they provided and when,” Prashad had told Kaieteur News.
ExxonMobil’s Public and Government Affairs Advisor, Kimberly Brasington, has said that 605 Guyanese businesses have registered in ExxonMobil’s supplier database. She said that those are companies, which have expressed interest in being part of the supply chain.
She said that 70 of them are taking courses in order to build capacity in areas like procurement and safety.
Last year, Brasington said that ExxonMobil and its contractors provided 30,000 hours of capacity training to Guyanese.
Committee Member, Neil Kumar stated that there must be a balance.
Minister Trotman said that there is currently no legislation that stipulates what percentage of local content ExxonMobil should undertake.
He said that countries that have gone the way of legislation have not done as well as they have anticipated.
According to Minister Trotman, there are several issues that need to be considered that relates mostly to building the capacity of Guyanese workers and companies for the oil sector.
The Minister expressed the view that the Government plans to build that capacity.
“We are in the process of building the capacity so we can legislate,” Trotman indicated.
He also shared that market forces will dictate how ExxonMobil operates, Government is cautious about tying to dictate to the company.
Guyana is still to finalize a Local Content Policy, which sets out guidelines to be observed by foreign companies operating in an economy.
It is supposed to secure maximum benefits for citizens of a country.
A second draft of Guyana’s Local Content and Value Addition Policy Framework has been completed.
Guyana’s Local Content Policy, formulated specifically to guide players in the oil industry, was supposed to be no different. In fact, the authors, including Trinidad’s Anthony Paul of Chatham House, stated in the policy that the intention is to secure benefits for Guyanese.
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