Guyana’s infant oil and gas sector will now have access to the most advanced technical support available in the western hemisphere following the signing of three key memoranda of understanding (MoU) between the governments of Guyana and Mexico formalizing a relationship that will bring on stream a regime of critical technical support and training designed to significantly enhance local capacity in a number of key areas in the sector.
Mexican Ambassador to Guyana Ivan Sierra on Wednesday evening told Stabroek Business during a briefing that the formal signing of the agreement marks, “by far” the most significant event in bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
Director of the Mexican Institute of Petroleum (IMP) Dr Ernesto Rios, who had earlier in the day flown into Guyana for the signing of the agreements, said they facilitate the provision of technical support in the preparation of the three White Papers. These pacts will provide key information and guidelines to the Government of Guyana in its quest to “build an overall balance of demand and supply in terms of oil and gas in the industry in Guyana.” They will also help develop a pool of skills in the various labour, technical and professional disciplines across the job spectrum in the sector and create an overall technical framework that will help to “shape the relationship between the Government of Guyana and the industry that is being developed.”
Rios said the signing of the agreement will be followed by a series of implementation-related steps that will include the sharing with Guyana of the techniques and methodologies to be used in the analysis underpinning the preparation of the White Papers. This exercise, he said would assist Guyana to develop its own documents and “to build a set of concepts that are not Mexican concepts or international concepts but Guyanese concepts shaped to the peculiar requirements of its own industry.” The Mexican official said the support to be given to Guyana will also include the sharing of best practices in the industry for the consideration of the Government of Guyana.
The execution of the specific agreements under the memorandum of understanding is expected to see the creation of a stream of traffic between Guyana and Mexico relating to visits here from experts in the Mexico Petroleum Institute and visits to Mexico by Guyanese involved with the oil and gas sector to receive training.
The execution of the assignments under the memorandum of understanding will also see the somewhat longer term stay of experts from the IMP in Guyana to conduct interviews and gather information pertaining to the execution of the assignment, Rios said.
Mexico’s prestigious IMP is a public facility that undertakes basic and applied scientific research designed to support the development of technologies employed in the petroleum industry and the training of specialized human resources to support the state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) in its ongoing search for hydrocarbons and new oil fields and in the improvement of the exploitation of these resources.
Funding for the project is being provided by the Inter-American Development Bank.
Rios said that the work of the IMP is expected to leave an important footprint in the area of knowledge transfer since training will range from earth science-related disciplines including geology and geophysics to technical disciplines applicable to “on-site workers” functioning in “central positions” in the oil and gas sector. Some of those areas, he said, will include welding, a discipline critical to the efficient maintenance of the steel-based infrastructure in key areas of the sector and data collection for ongoing environmental assessment. This aspect of training, according to Rios, seeks to respond to the particular emphasis which the Government of Guyana has placed on the environmental concerns that attend the exploitation of oil and gas resources.
This week’s signing of the agreement comes just days after the March 1, 44th anniversary of the formal establishment of diplomatic relations between Guyana and Mexico and Ambassador Sierra said that the conclusion of the agreement was an important milestone in the relationship between the two countries. Bilateral discourses between the two capitals on the subject of possible Mexican support for the development of an oil and gas sector in Guyana and this week’s conclusion of the three key MoUs is seen here as a trigger that will accelerate the bilateral engagement.
Sierra stated that the conclusion of the agreement now meant that Guyana would become the direct beneficiary of 50 years of IMP experience as well as the support of an institution whose expertise is unsurpassed anywhere in the Western Hemisphere.