Guyana yesterday played host to the second annual International Petroleum Business Summit and Exhibition (GIPEX 2019) at the Marriott Hotel in Kingston, which saw in attendance executives from key oil companies operating in the country, along with potential new investors.
Conspicuously unrepresented, however, were the local private sector and other native businesses looking to participate in Guyana’s emerging oil and gas industry.
Billed with the theme ‘Gateway to a Golden Future’ with some 600 delegates and 200 companies represented, GIPEX 2019 instead boasted an overwhelming array of foreign-based oil and gas companies, interest groups and service businesses.
While some local standouts such as, Komal Samaroo, head of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL)—which has partnered with a Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) firm to build a shore base—were among the attendees, even the private sector representatives billed to speak were not in attendance.
The opening ceremony did see participation from Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and former Vice President Carl Greenidge, who were among the senior government officials, along with members of the Diplomatic Corps and largely overseas delegates.
President David Granger, who was also listed to give remarks, did so via a video presentation. He was at the time of the opening, at the Ministry of the Presidency, where Kenya’s High Commissioner to Guyana was being accredited.
President of the Georgetown Chambers of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Nicholas Deygoo-Boyer, was listed and even slated to deliver introductory remarks to the opening ceremony. He too was a no show.
When contacted by this publication, Deygoo-Boyer related that he was never informed that he was to speak at the event.
According to Deygoo-Boyer, it was only after he was introduced and did not show up at the podium that he began receiving telephone calls enquiring.
The Private Sector Commission (PSC) was also allocated a slot to speak at the opening ceremony, but Chairman, Captain Gerald Gouveia, was also not present. Kaieteur News later learnt that the PSC chairman was not even in the jurisdiction.
An impromptu joint statement subsequently issued, said “representatives of the lead private sector groups were unable to deliver remarks at the opening of GIPEX due to a miscommunication on the part of the event’s organizing committee.”
Attributing remarks to Deygoo-Boyer, the statement said, “despite the earlier miscommunication, we look forward to a successful event and are supportive of international exhibitions like this.”
It also quoted remarks attributed to Gouveia which said, he would have been honoured to speak at the signature oil and gas conference, and, “we look forward to continue playing an active role in the development of our emerging oil and gas sector.”
An absence of a domestic private sector was on display at the exhibition also, which did not number 200 companies, as advertised.
ExxonMobil held the prominent position at the entrance of the exhibition where participants were eager to try out their ‘virtual reality’ gear, promoting the company.
Hess Corporation and CNOOC also held some of the larger booths while Teir 1 Contractor, SBM Offshore, Saipem, TechnicFMP and others also commanded the attention of those in attendance.
Hardware Depot was among the few noteworthy local entities.
This publication observed that there were several companies which had already set up infrastructure in Guyana advertising a local address but were in fact from other countries such as neighbouring T&T.
GIPEX is organized by Valiant Business Media with key support from Ministry of the Presidency, through the Department of Energy and the Guyana Office for Investment.
The opening ceremony did see presentations from ExxonMobil’s Senior Vice President Upstream Oil and Gas Deep Water, Hunter Farris, who impressed upon the gathering that “the people of Guyana and ExxonMobil have a long future together, and we are determining what that future looks like every day by what we do and who we are.”
Others to address the opening included Director of the Department of Energy, Dr. Mark Bynoe and the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest)’s Chief Executive Officer, Owen Verwey, after which stakeholders were engaged in a number of technical presentations on the industry, Guyana, and the opportunities that exist.
GIPEX continues today at the Marriot Hotel and concludes on Friday, at which time the exhibition is expected to be open to the public at no cost.
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