Oil Exploration Company Breaks with Tradition and Gives New Well in Guyana an Indigenous Name

The Aleluya Indigenous Religion group blessing CGX Energy Inc’s latest exploration well ‘Utakwaaka’.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Monday
August 8, 2018 – A Canadian oil and gas exploration company has given its latest exploration well in Guyana an Indigenous name and carried out a blessing ceremony by the historic Aleluya Indigenous Group.

CGX Energy Incorporated says the well, named ‘Utakwaaka’, is expected to be drilled in November 2019 in the company’s Corentyne Block offshore Guyana.

‘Utakwaaka’, a Phillipai word, means the dawn of a new day, a ray of light a ray of hope. The Aleluya Indigenous religion is considered one of the oldest known and only practising indigenous religion in Guyana. The group is made up of indigenous people from the Phillipai and Amokokopai villages located in the Upper Mazaruni, in Guyana’s Region Seven.

Executive Chairman Professor Suresh Narine said that giving the well an indigenous name is a departure from the norm in the oil industry. Traditionally, wells are named by the geologists who select the location.

“[It is] to pay homage to and take strength sustenance and blessing from the wealth spring of spirituality and philosophy of our indigenous peoples,” Narine explained.

The naming of the well coincided with CGX Energy Inc.’s 20th anniversary, and Professor Narine said it was important to the company that the resource it is exploiting is used to enhance “that which we hold valuable rather than let it in itself define value to us”.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge, who attended the naming ceremony, said many Guyanese were proud of CGX for the work it has done in the country and its determination and resilience in exploration in the oil and gas industry.

“What we have achieved now…is in no small measure to the persistence of CGX itself in working with Guyanese, its technicians, investors to ensure that notwithstanding the disappointments….Today we can celebrate,” he said.

Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock noted that partnership is important and commended CGX for its collaboration.

“This is a significant step for the oil sector and the indigenous people of Guyana,” he said. “It is in recognition of this intricate relationship shared with the indigenous people of Guyana and the natural environment and resources.”

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