By Kiana Wilburg
Through World Bank funding, Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), now has Mexico’s no-nonsense oil regulator, Carlos de Regules, as its consultant.
Regules is the founding Director of Mexico’s Agency for Security, Energy and the Environment (ASEA). Confirming this yesterday was EPA Head, Dr. Vincent Adams.
Since meeting Regules in May 2018 at an Oil and Gas Forum in California, Kaieteur News has been carrying a series of articles featuring the regulator, all of which the EPA and the World Bank have paid strict attention to.
In many of those publications, Regules made it clear that Guyana is at a very important time in its history and it should regulate the sector without fear or favour.
He had explained, “You are at the beginning of a new moment in history. The country is going to move from being dependent on certain economic activities and it is going to become a regional hub; a very important place for oil and gas in the region. And Guyana has an opportunity to make it right from the start because you have a clean sheet of paper for this sector.”
The Executive Director of ASEA continued, “So before achieving full scale development of the oil and gas resources, Guyana has the opportunity to create an institutional framework that makes the sector stakeholders operate in a responsible manner…”
The Mexican official added, “But I can’t stress enough that one of the ingredients of this institutional framework will be astute and honourable regulators. One of the characteristics of a good regulator is independence.
“You want regulators who are defining the rules for the long run, to be independent from the political cycle. They should also be financially independent so they can plan for the long term and have the resources to do so.”
The Oil and Gas expert said that the sooner Guyana can have strengthened systems for environmental regulation in place, then it would be better off in terms of managing the sector.
In addition to this, the Executive Director of ASEA said that the Government would be able to provide the people of Guyana with the certainty that there are regulators and institutions in place that will take care of their interest.
Further, Regules has been a strong advocate for Guyana’s EPA to have high standards and demand only internationally acceptable best practices from companies like ExxonMobil, Shell and Chevron.
He stressed that these firms are used to operating in environments that demand compliance with the best safety standards. As such, Regules said that Guyana’s authorities should not lower their standards in fear of scaring off rich oil companies.
Since his exposure in the local media, Mexico and Guyana have had increased relations in the area of training with Regules leading the way. In fact, the EPA has had a few of its staff members trained by the ASEA.
Regules has also been a staunch advocate for Guyana to demand internationally recognized insurance policies from oil companies and move away from self-insurance. Local authorities are now moving in the direction of the former.
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