Trinidadian companies are offering a host of energy services here as Guyana prepares to embark on exploration projects which it is believed will yield oil in commercial quantities.
And, Minister of Transport and Hydraulics and Public Works, Robeson Benn says T&T’s experience in the energy sector can help Guyana develop regulations and management services toward a rationalized plan if and when oil is discovered in commercial quantities. The energy services of over 14 companies; from rig moving to underwater inspection, were listed in a booklet for the South Trinidad Chamber of Industry and Commerce (STCIC) Trade Mission to Guyana and Suriname which is supported by the T&T Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Yesterday morning at Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel, STCIC Chief Executive Officer Dr Thackwray Driver, said the recent settlement of the boundary dispute between Suriname and Guyana makes this trade mission very important. (The United Nations arbitral process handed down the decision on the Guyana/Suriname maritime boundary on September 17.) Driver explained that with the Caricom Single Market and Economy, the Chamber needs to start looking beyond T&T, “which is part of the reason why we are here today.” The T&T oil reserve profile was declining, he said, using a graph to illustrate this, and, from a T&T perspective STCIC needs to think beyond this reserve.
T&T has the expertise and skill which the country can sell to the world, Driver said of their 100 years experience, come December, in the commercial oil and gas business. He said that as Guyana embarks on oil exploration, it is not just about getting big investors to invest in the country, since these companies themselves do not do the work which is largely done by contractors. “They are not going to think at all about developing the region,” he opined.
Over the past two years the STCIC said Driver has lobbied for the creation of a regional energy policy and although the idea was widely accepted by the heads of governments, such a policy is yet to be formulated. Energy is seen as a problem but the region needs to see energy as a business with opportunities, he said, since the sector has a huge amount of services such as drilling, seismic, engineering, maintenance and production. T&T, with its very developed energy sector, was said to be benefiting from the entire value chain in the sector. It was noted that about 200 companies; small and medium size and mainly locally owned and operated, benefit from the sector but so do major multi-national service companies. Driver pointed out that a skills gap in the market does exist and plans are now in train in the education sector to close this deficit; that is, apart from efforts to encourage skilled T&T migrants to return home.
The trade mission will leave Guyana tomorrow for T&T then travel to Suriname on October 31 and leave that country on November 3.
Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest) Geoffrey Da Silva told the local and STCIC business representatives that “first-movers-starters” are very important, and he highlighted the need for businesses to jump on the opportunities that are present. “You are coming here because you want to look at real opportunities,” he said, adding that Go-Invest will be following up on the mission’s progress after the trip. Da Silva said he was optimistic about the mission’s prospects in forming partnerships. He said too that T&T has the experience and the government wants to move quickly on mobilizing technology