Gov’t seeking consultant on sale of Guyana’s crude oil

ExxonMobil Guyana’s Liza Phase 1 project on track to achieve first oil by the first quarter of 2020.

Government has advertised for consulting services to provide guidance on selling Guyana’s share of crude oil, expected early next year with oil major ExxonMobil’s Liza Phase 1 project on track to achieve first oil by the first quarter of 2020.

Liza Phase 1 is forecast to produce up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day at peak rates, a portion of which will accrue to Guyana. Last week, advisor to the Department of Energy (DoE) Matthew Wilks spoke of the DoE’s crude oil lifting and marketing plan, which would see this country selling its share of oil “independently to get the highest price on the international market.” He had disclosed that the agency has advertised for a crude oil market advisor to provide analysis of the best mechanisms for government going forward in this area.

According to the ad on the Ministry of the Presidency’s website, the objective of the assignment is for the consultant to provide advisory services and technical support towards the establishment of a crude oil marketing function which would cover “all aspects of crude marketing and logistics of crude oil produced in Guyana, together with preparation of competitive tenders for such marketing.”

According to the terms of reference, the consultant’s duties would include the provision of views on world crude markets (volumes forecast and price estimates by regions) and, more specifically, the US Gulf Coast and Asian markets.

It also includes advising on the best crude marketing strategy for government’s share of lifted crude oil resulting from its production sharing contract(s), based upon the criterion on maximising government revenues, highlighting the pros and cons of: single seller or agent versus multiple sellers; single market or a variety of markets; a fee per barrel of oil marketing arrangement based on spot sales versus longer term sales to a specific buyer; FOB crude oil sales versus CIF sales or a mixed FOB/CIF sales portfolio including shipping; as well as long-term versus medium-term versus short-term sales or a mix thereof.

Further, the consultant has to provide advice on the possible pricing formulas potentially achievable for each category of possible sales (destination, duration); spot references for European sales; Latin America, Africa and Asia sales; and long term price formulas.

Additionally, the consultant will have to provide advice on the optimal marketing strategy to create a benchmark crude premium for Guyana crude and develop a risk management strategy to include pricing objectives; approved contractual and financial instruments; risk exposure limits; counterparty credit limits; and hedging policy.

Pragmatic timeline

The consultant’s duties will also include providing advice on comparative economics of domestic use of crude oil compared to international markets and how to maximise government revenue from crude oil sales. He or she would also have to define the organisational requirements for Guyana’s crude oil marketing function including business pro-cesses; staffing and skills requirements; internal procedures and approval pro-cesses; budget resources; data requirements; monitoring and reporting requirements and provide a pragmatic timeline to achieve an operational crude oil marketing function.

The consultant will also have to propose interim methodologies for procuring a transparent marketing arrangement that maximises the government revenues from crude oil sales such as fee per barrel of oil marketing arrangements. Other duties include the training of DoE and other petroleum related agency staff via group workshops, individual mentoring and supervised on-the-job training. Topics to be covered include commercial terms governing international crude oil marketing, oil pricing, oil quality and basis differentials, and cargo operations including lifting and scheduling.

“The consultant will base his/her work on the crude oil volumes available for export as provided by the operator(s) and its updates from time to time,” the ad says.

It stated that these activities are estimated to take place over a period of four years commencing this year. The contract will initially be issued for one year with a possibility of renewal for the duration of the project period based on performance.

The core deliverables for this assignment are the provision of advice and assistance to the DoE as required in executing the scope of work.

The ad noted that the consultant selected will work under the direction of the Director of the DoE or other designated official within the department; and will work closely with other government agencies involved in the oil and gas sector as required.

Inception visit

The consultant’s work will be carried out over 90 days per year (in the first year) of which at least 60 days will be spent in Guyana. The consultant will make an inception visit of at least three weeks to formulate work programmes, perform initial training, and support urgent commercial decisions facing the DoE. Subsequent visits will be for at least two weeks in duration. The ad said that when not physically present in Guyana, the consultant will remain in close contact with the DoE team to supervise and support the crude oil marketing activities.

As it relates to experience and required qualifications, the ad stated that to be eligible for the assignment, the consultant should have at least 20 years’ relevant experience in the commercial functions of an international oil company of which at least five years’ experience in crude oil trading and marketing, and have been involved in crude marketing studies. Experience in crude oil marketing negotiations for at least three different clients in relation to major sales of crude oil would be an asset, it says.

Among other things, the consultant must also have experience (from within five years preceding the date of the applicant’s application) of advising sovereign governments on crude oil marketing; experience of the associated shipping logistics of crude oil marketing; and experience of advising governments on outsourcing crude oil marketing and associated logistics on a fee per barrel of oil basis.

The consultancy falls under the World Bank-funded Guyana Petroleum Resources Governance and Management Project which aims to enhance the government’s capacity to achieve its management goals for the petroleum sector through interventions focused on supporting the enhancement of legal and institutional frameworks and the strengthening of the capacity of key institutions to manage the oil and gas sector in Guyana.

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