Guyana president forecasts boom in petroleum industry
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Thursday, May 10, 2012 – Guyana is expected to be ranked as one of the major oil producing countries in the world in the next ten years.
This significant development was predicted by President Donald Ramotar as he addressed the opening of a five-day oil and gas training course for key technicians in Guyana.
President Ramotar said this projection was based on information carried in a publication out of the United States.
“There is therefore, a lot of optimism that we will discover (oil) in our area and hopefully in the not too distant future and, I think that this course therefore, is long overdue because I believe that we could have been preparing ourselves even before for the eventuality of us finding oil,” Ramotar said.
Guyana continues the pursuit of oil in its territorial waters with international oil and gas exploration companies such as Repsol, Tullow Oil, CGX, Exxon Mobil and YPF holding the concessions.
Repsol and CGX are at present drilling offshore Guyana where it is considered the second most attractive under-explored basin in the world with a potential of 15.2 billion barrels of oil.
The pursuit of oil in Guyana’s territorial waters was halted for some years, after Surinamese gunboats chased out CGX in 2000. The issue was eventually settled with an arbitral tribunal award by the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS).
However, Ramotar noted that “it is better late than never” and encouraged the participants of the training course to utilise it meaningfully.
“We would like to get as much as possible, benefits from these (natural resources) and to prepare our society when these things would have been exhausted so that our people can continue to live well and to move forward,” Ramotar said.
The course is the result of a partnership effort between the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and Minexco Petroleum. Technicians within the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and related government agencies are the main targets for the course. At the culmination of the training,participants are expected to develop general knowledge on how the oil and gas industry operates.
According to Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud, a wider cross-section of the Guyanese public will also be engaged.
The training will also be incorporated into the curriculum of a mining school, which the government will be establishing by September this year. The overall goal is to develop local capacity.
As a large pool of skills was still needed for its development, Ramotar said Guyana should emulate some of the best practices of other prosperous countries and extend training to cater for stakeholders in the business.
He encouraged the organisers and participants not to turn a blind eye to some of the negatives that may be an inevitable consequence of developing the sector, chief among which is its ability to lure resources away from other important sectors.
However, Ramotar said that as oil and gas develops, Guyana must not “fall into that situation where we are totally dependent on oil.”
Minexco’s role as a facilitator of Monday’s workshop resulted from an invitation extended by Ramotar. The company plays a supporting role in upstream oil and gas ventures in West Africa. The support is similar to the training being conducted in Guyana and Persaud said it would augment the government’s plan for developing the knowledge base of the country’s mining sector with respect for the environment a priority.
President of the company Efroyim Hecht said Minexco is optimistic of a thriving oil and gas sector in Guyana which it hails as a “special place.”