Exxon seeking local suppliers who share compliance, quality goals

-forum hears

Rod Henson

ExxonMobil yesterday told prospective suppliers that it is seeking local partners that will support its goals, including health and safety, environmental and regulatory compliance, quality, and cost competitiveness. 

This was the message delivered to participants at the inaugural Liza Phase 1 Supplier Development Forum, which was launched yesterday at the Marriott Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown, to facilitate direct communication between Guyanese suppliers and service providers and ExxonMobil’s prime contractors in order to open dialogue and build relationships through face-to-face engagements in order to maximise local content opportunities.

Speaking yesterday at the opening of the forum, ExxonMobil Country Manager Rod Henson said, “…So we will favour contractors and suppliers that are able to effectively support our objectives, which surround safety and health, environmental and regulatory compliance, quality, cost competitiveness, ethical business practices and an ability to meet schedule. These are the things that are important to us.”

Henson explained that ExxonMobil is building a first-class industry in the country and is committed to Guyana and its economic and social development and will continue to work closely with the subcontractors and suppliers that are investing time, resources and people to develop the capacity of local businesses.

He also noted that while Exxon is committed to maximising Guyana’s local content opportunities, it is also bound by a duty to be safe and to develop the nation’s resources efficiently and to ensure that it does not result in an industry that can hurt people or damage the environment, or one that accepts low quality work or wastefulness.

“When ExxonMobil signed the Liza Phase 1 production licence, we made a long term commitment to Guyana – a commitment to maximise the potential of Liza phase one and support the ongoing economic development of Guyana,” Henson said, while noting that local suppliers are strategically important to the success of its operations and through the Centre for Local Business Development (CLBD) it has been strengthening the capabilities of local companies, as well as improving the competitiveness of Guyana’s industrial base.

He said that the forum is aligned with the directive of the CLBD, which is to provide a space for Guyanese firms to learn about the opportunities in the Oil and Gas sector and to adequately prepare to participate in the supply chain.

“Whether small businesses or large, ExxonMobil recognises our operations benefit from the experience of suppliers who understand the local business environment. In many cases the costs are lower using local suppliers. I want to visualise that Guyana is at the beginning of a journey—oil revenues will ramp up over the next decade and as oil revenues ramp up, so will expectations and standards of living,” he said, while adding that the “transformational decade” must be accompanied by transformation in the country’s industries to ensure that there is high quality and very strict adherence to international safety standards.

Seize every opportunity

Also speaking at the opening of the forum was Joanna Simmons-Homer, from the Department of Energy of the Ministry of Presidency, who applauded the work of the CLBD in building the capacity of local businesses.

“The standard of the petroleum industry is high… and the learning curve is steep. Nonetheless, success stories are emerging and this forum is a birthing ground for even more,” she noted.

“For international companies such as ExxonMobil, a strong relationship with Guyanese businesses serves to bolster and underpin its global status. Petroleum exploration and production has to be carried out within a defined place and territory with unique norms, customs, laws and standards, and many times that defined space and territory has had no prior experience with such activities and must therefore make every effort and seize every opportunity to successfully engage for today, tomorrow and many tomorrows to come,” she added.

Head of the Private Sector Commission Desmond Sears also gave brief remarks in which he expressed his satisfaction in seeing a suppliers’ forum, which he said he had discussed with a colleague before.

“Recently the Commission submitted its comments on the second draft of the Local Content Policy. We are of the view that this policy should be implemented as soon as possible with a date of revision so that local businesses can be given due consideration to be part of this supplier network. In addition, it is our hope that operators and suppliers adhere to the local content policy, utilising locally produced goods and services along with Guyanese labour in direct and indirect oil and gas operations and supports services,” Sears noted.

He said while it is not the Commission’s intention to ask for mandatory adherence to the utilisation of the local content policy, he can say that local businesses are currently investing heavily to develop their competencies in order to take advantage of the opportunities that may arise. Its members have reported that they have been utilising the services of the CLBD and are receiving invaluable support, he further noted.

Sears explained that while they must thank ExxonMobil, they would like to urge foreign suppliers to particularly assist the local companies.

“Ideally, the Private Sector Commission advocates for more joint ventures with locals, as in most cases the locals have the basic capacity and… assistance from those already specialised in the areas would certainly be beneficial to both parties,” he said.

Project Manager for the CLBD Patrick Henry also made brief remarks and presentations were also made by Noble Corporation, TechnipFMC, Saipem and SBM (Guyana Deepwater Offshore).

The first day was intended to help over 300 companies that have submitted expressions of interest to better understand the procurement process, expectations and the most effective approach in responding to opportunities for the supply of materials and services in 2019.

On the second day, an exhibition will be hosted where the over 1,000 local companies that have registered with the CLBD will have the opportunity to communicate directly with prime contractors.

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