Jan 16, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – With aim of ensuring that citizens benefit to the maximum extent possible from the lucrative oil and gas sector, Guyana’s laws should mandate a minimum target for the participation of locals. This was opined by Arthur Deakin, an Analyst at Americas Market Intelligence (AMI), during his debut appearance on Kaieteur Radio’s Guyana Oil & You, on Thursday.
“I think one measure that is rather simple and something that is important to include is a certain threshold, a certain minimum of local contracting that is required in the oil and gas development,” Deakin said, while adding that once that threshold has been defined, it should be written into law so that it could be implemented.
Last year, Kaieteur News would have disclosed through several comprehensive pieces, how its neighbour, Suriname, takes local content seriously while showing some of the legal provisions it has in place to protect the interest of its people in the oil sector.
Notably, the Surinamese Petroleum Law explicitly mandates that the employment of foreign personnel is strictly limited to functions for which there are no experienced and qualified Surinamese nationals available. In layman terms, this means, than unless Surinamese are not qualified for a job, locals must always be chosen in front of foreigners/ expatriates.
The Dutch country’s Petroleum Laws go on to mandate that oil companies must utilize all possibilities so that Surinamese nationals can gain expertise in and acquire responsible positions in the activities within the law.
Concerningly, this rigid rule is absent from the Local Content Policy that was finalized by United Kingdom Consultant, Dr. Michael Warner—who ExxonMobil happens to be a client of. In a series of articles, Kaieteur News had exposed how Dr. Warner had ignored and removed key recommendations to give Guyanese an advantage in the oil sector.
Furthermore, Surinamese Petroleum Laws also mandate that companies are required to provide a report demonstrating the number of employees that are engaged in petroleum operations in Suriname. They must be identified by nationality to the extent that providing such information does not cause the contractor to violate any laws. This report must be submitted no later than 90 days following the end of each calendar year.
This unbending provision is also missing from the Guyana laws, as well as the Production Signing Agreement (PSA) signed between government and ExxonMobil. In fact, this oil major continues to ignore calls to submit a breakdown of the job description, salaries, and even the plans in place to increase local workforce in its operations by more than 55%.
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