Over 2000 persons have applied for the 100 onshore oil jobs advertised by the Muneshwer’s joint venture, Guyana Shore Base Inc (GSBI) and applications continue to come in on a daily basis.
“We are averaging 100 applications per day, we are over 2000 applicants so far,” Robin Muneshwer, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the three-company consortium, told the press yesterday.
The company, which last month won the tender to provide shore-based services to ExxonMobil, yesterday held another tour of the facility, located at Houston on the East Bank of Demerara, to update Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman as to progress and plans for the facility.
Last month too, the company had advertised dozens of oil and gas positions. Among the administrative positions advertised were senior accountant, executive director and office manager. In the category of operational positions, GSBI sought a port/shore base manager, yard foreman, crane operators, forklift operators, senior diesel mechanics, industrial electricians, auto electricians, stevedores and articulated vehicle drivers among others.
Muneshwer yesterday explained that when the advertisement was placed it was just “to see what was out there.” But the company has so far hired five persons in its administrative department and will within the next two weeks be placing a detailed advertisement eliminating the positions that are already closed. “There was not much detail (in the advertisement) I believe in the next set of ads it will be more targeted,” he said.
ExxonMobil itself has said that the offshore pumping of oil, expected to begin by 2020, would not generate a large number of direct jobs for Guyanese on its end.
Muneshwer pointed out that GSBI will only be able to employ about 100 persons directly, when the facility is completed although it is anticipated that another 300 persons could be employed indirectly with its partners.
Trotman later told Stabroek News that the high number of applicants was expected, and that while he would not wish to analyse the reason for the large figures, many of the persons who applied are likely already employed and government continues to plan for job creation from revenues earned from oil.
“What I do know is that there is a very high interest in the oil and gas industry and many young people are seeing it as the industry they might align themselves (with). Insofar as the breakdown goes, I am sure that you will find that many who applied also have jobs already but want to transfer because it is now the new glorified position to be in or occupation to pursue. I don’t believe that you can go on to extrapolate to say that they are all unemployed people,” he said.
Trotman stressed that government is strategically planning for the holistic development of the nation.
“Certainly we are not going to find 10,000 people working for one boat. I believe (Finance Minister) Mr (Winston) Jordan has been quite clear that we are going to be supporting infrastructural development, construction of roads…opening up new avenues and vistas, so to speak…new agricultural lands, road to Brazil etcetera…,” he said as he listed a number of development plans, for all sectors, that are in the APNU+AFC’s pipeline.
“We recognize that we can’t put all our eggs in the proverbial basket insofar as oil is concerned and that we have to support the other pillars, mining and agriculture in particular, and opening the industry,” he said as he also touched on plans to assist the local manufacturing sector that would in turn see a weaning of the country’s dependence on food imports.
“I believe that the coming of the oil industry… will see across the board, standards are going to raise. People will want to enjoy a higher standard of living and I think …we will give that to them…We don’t expect indeed that in the first phase 10,000 or 40,000 would be working directly in oil and gas but we will see hundreds perhaps a few thousands and the knock on effects and the indirect benefits will be felt across the country. So what we are hearing is quite consistent with what we expect and it gives us great hope that things are shaping up nicely,” he added.
Trotman was also told that as GSBI forges ahead with its over US$10M integrated shore-base facility, it hopes by next year to begin phasing out the dependence of ExxonMobil on neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago for support services.
“A lot of the services here today are being done out of Trinidad. So the great thing is that a lot of the services will now start and operate from Guyana. And as quickly as we could get the facility ready, minister, it means that we are creating jobs and industry in Guyana, bringing the business into Guyana, decommissioning Trinidad and commissioning Guyana, which is a big step,” Lawrence Mangal, manager at Totaltec stated.
“Currently Exxon has to make five separate stops one for pipes, fuel, mud plant and a variety of other things. One of our big selling points was to make it one stop; including fuel so that is a big plus for them”, Muneshwer added to Mangal’s explanation.
Last year, former Deputy British High Commissioner to Malawi, Kirk Hollingsworth, had pointed out that Guyana has lost over $500 million to Trinidad and Tobago in servicing of ExxonMobil’s operations.