The Government of Guyana and the Government of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador yesterday signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation towards responsible oil and gas development opportunities.
At a signing ceremony in the Ministry of Presidency’s Rupununi Room, Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin along with Natural Resources Minister of the Canadian province Siobhan Coady inked the agreement, which was also made available.
The MoU states that it came to fruition through the desire of both governments to “enhance cooperation and collaboration in support of responsible oil and gas development opportunities.”
The agreement also states that the parties will facilitate economic cooperation and business opportunities in Guyana and in Newfoundland and Labrador by organising reciprocal visits to each jurisdiction, with representatives of industry and government.
A joint working committee will also be established to implement and oversee the agreement. The Deputy Minister of Natural Resources of Newfoundland and Labrador will serve as the co-chair of the committee and will be supported by representatives from the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation along with other appropriate agencies.
On Guyana’s side, the committee will be chaired by the Director of the Department of Energy Dr. Mark Bynoe and will see participation by other local representatives.
The co-chairs are expected to endeavour to maintain “open and quarterly communication” with each other and with the relevant industry groups and non-governmental organisations.
The committee will be responsible for the development and coordination of an annual work plan that has to be approved and overseen by the co-chair; who are expected to make reasonable efforts to develop and approve the first annual work plan within 30 days following the signing, and other subsequent annual work plans are expected to be done following 30 days of the anniversary date of the execution of the agreement.
In terms of reporting, the co-chairs will have to provide an annual report to the parties with respect to the status of the Agreement and the progress made in the work plan and will have to agree to meet on an annual basis to review and assess the progress of initiatives taken and to discuss potential new areas of cooperation that could be reflected in the work plan.
Gaskin made brief remarks at the signing, where he highlighted the importance of developing long-term relationships with governments.
“…As we explore the oil and gas sector, with which we are not all that familiar, I think it becomes all the more important that we benefit from experiences of those who have done this before. So ,with that in mind, I am grateful for the opportunity to share experiences with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador as well as their private sector,” Gaskin said.
Coady explained that there will be a sharing of knowledge, information and the opportunities for joint ventures and economic development. She said her government is keen to ensure that the benefits of the sector reach the people.
Coady also noted that they have more than 20 years’ experience of production in the oil and gas sector and during its infancy they also sought joint ventures with others that had the experience so that they could develop by having a transfer of knowledge, which they hope to replicate with the MoU.
“…And that is why we are here today to work with you, to give you the experiences we have so that you can build and grow your opportunity here in Guyana. We look forward to see the growth and development of the oil and gas industry here in Guyana and the benefits coming to this great country,” she added.