We should focus on how small businesses can benefit even more from Exxon and its contractors

Dear Editor,

Analyzing mainstream and social media reactions to the release of the ‘local content’ list for ExxonMobil and its contractors for the 1st quarter of 2018, very clear conclusions can be drawn among which is the fact that different benchmarks are used to determine what constitutes ‘local content’ as opposed what may be considered by some as small-scale, indirect product and service provision.

The conversation has ranged from whether or not individual names should be included on a ‘local content’ list as opposed to the entities they represent, to whether a minimum dollar value requirement should be met in order for a transaction to be considered ‘local content’, and for some still, it is believed that only multimillion dollar transactions should be listed. These are all valid considerations and moving forward parameters should be clearly defined in order to bring greater clarity to citizens as we progress in knowledge of the blossoming oil and gas sector.

But rather than being fixated on the inclusion of small-scale transactions on the list, perhaps we should be asking ourselves what needs to be done for these individuals/small businesses to expand the range and scale of services in order to benefit more substantially in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters of the year and beyond.

For example, if Toms sell oranges, he may be approached for a bag of oranges or maybe three. However, if Tom decides to process, package and brand orange juice, not only will he have a value-added product which commands a higher profit, (assuming that Tom is smart enough to increase in volume and scale), but Tom will now be established, enabling him to register as a direct product supplier for ExxonMobil and its contractors, widening his client base and becoming better positioned to benefit from a range of future business opportunities. Importantly also, Tom will have contributed to providing employment.

Simply put, instead of being distracted by the distribution of the $2.8B in the first quarter, why not instead focus our attention on coming up with strategies to benefit from continued streams of revenue entering the economy through business creation and expansion as well as employment opportunities?

After all, squabbling about who is on the list or how much they earned neither adds financial value to us and our families nor the country we love and claim to defend.

Yours faithfully,

Andrew McBean

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