The Guyana Oil Company (Guyoil) yesterday commissioned its new $170 million service station at Diamond East Bank Demerara, an expansion seen as furthering the self-sufficiency of the rapidly growing community, which has seen the transformation of that area.
Giving the feature address at the ceremony, President Bharrat Jagdeo lauded Guyoil, stating that the company plays a critical role in regulating the behaviour of other oil companies.
The President said he expected the company to do better in the future since it has an “impressive track record of development and growth”.
“The investment that is represented today means that we are expanding the public sector.”
Explaining why Guyoil was not privatised, the President said that the company contributes to the net revenue while at the same time regulating the price.
“Often regulation systems don’t operate unless you have an entity that is directly involved in competition with those who would seek to…. rip off consumers,” Jagdeo said.
He then pointed out that many times when the price of oil falls on the international market, private companies do not adjust the price. “The role that Guyoil plays is very profitable but they also adjust price. Because they do the others are forced to follow so that consumers can benefit,” Jagdeo added.
“Over the years the intense interest that we have had in Guyoil, from the perspective of the Ministry of Finance and my office to ensure that, whilst they made money, they ensure that we have an adequate and competitively-priced supply of products to the market.”
He then congratulated the director and managers of GUYOIL telling them that they “have to continue at this” since “they have a critical role to play in the future”.
Jagdeo said the service station was situated in a community which is soon to benefit from an extension of the four-lane highway among several other developmental projects.
Construction of the service station began in September 2009 and by mid-March this year the project was complete. It includes a GuyShop Convenience Store, an underground 15,000-gallon fuel storage tank, four dispensing pumps capable of servicing seven vehicles at one time, a full service and wash bay, a 50 KVA powered generating set and a 3000-gallon water reservoir.
The station actually began serving customers about three weeks ago, according to its Managing Director Badrie Persaud.
The gas station employs a staff of 24, who all live in the Diamond area.
Persaud said Guyoil will commission yet another service station in about a month at Palmyra, Berbice.
He said the company’s expansion strategy also includes a third such project on the Essequibo Coast this year. Minister of Finance Dr Ashni Singh noting the community’s growth pointed out that he had attended several major commissioning ceremonies of projects, including a new well, turning of the sod for one of the three commercial banks to be constructed and the East Bank Demerara Regional Hospital.
“There are so many events that have reflected the remarkable transformation that bas been taking place in the Diamond/Grove area and that is so reflective of the transformation that is taking palace in so many other parts of our country,” Singh said.
After Jagdeo gave his feature address he along with Singh, Persaud and managers of Guyoil assisted as a child cut the ribbon to officially open the service station.
The President and other special guests were then given a tour of the service station, which also has space for a mini mart. It was revealed that tenders will be issued to persons desirous of doing business with the company.