GEORGETOWN, Guyana, September 13, 2017 (CMC) – A 45-member trade mission from Canada has arrived here to discuss Guyana’s emerging oil and energy sector.
The Canadian Trade Mission is comprised of entities from the private sector, industry associations, government departments and educational institutions from Newfoundland/Labrador Provinces.
The mission takes the form of a two-day workshop, which opened yesterday at the Marriott Hotel, and the Canadian companies are intent on forging relationships with local firms and entities, to capitalise on opportunities that may arise, as Guyana gets ready to usher in its oil industry, in 2020.
Charge de Affairs, High Commission of Canada, Jan Sheltinga, said that the High Commission is privileged to facilitate the timely visit of the delegation to Guyana, “as the country prepares to establish strong support mechanisms for the emerging industry”.
She added that one of Canada’s key pillars of engagement with Guyana, is supporting sustainable economic growth and mutual prosperity through increased trade and investment ties.
Canadian businessman, Michael Critch, who previously worked for major oil and gas companies and is now the owner of two successful businesses (which provide services to the industry) and Chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Association board of directors, shared his experience, gained after 25 years in the industry.
“Twenty-five years ago, I was a university student with no prospect for a job, because our economy in Newfoundland was in pretty rough shape, with a fishery that was going into a moratorium state and no potential prospect for economic prosperity in our future. But…here I am today. I’m an elected volunteer of an oil and gas industry chamber of commerce and board of directors, and I’m down here sharing some experience that I have obtained over the past 25 years with you”
Critch noted that Eastern Canada has developed its production over the last 25 years and is pleased to share its expertise with Guyana.
“So Guyana, being the country new to the oil and gas production offshore, it’s going to have new sources of revenue, new sources of economic development. We think that we can share some lessons and maybe help businesses and have the people of Guyana learn what they should do, so that they can benefit the most”, Critch said, adding that as the sector develops there needs to be technological advancements as well.
Executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Industry Association, Kieran Hanley, addressing the prospects of such a mission that go beyond just oil and gas said, “Our membership is active in many other sectors from mining to forestry, to education and training, to waste water management.”
PAL-Aerospace Representative, Jason Conelly, disclosed that the delegation has received positive feedback from engagements with potential companies. He also mentioned there are plans to partner with local companies in aerospace and environmental markets since it has a “bright future.”
Guyana’s Business Minister, Dominic Gaskin, said much of the discussions are centered on local content.
“Should it be regulated, should it be legislated, should it be made into contracts or should it be left to oil companies to use their discretion,” Gaskin said.
He said that there is no lack of opinions to ensure that Guyanese reap the benefits of the developing sector. According to Gaskin, the administration understands that “this is a huge long-term private sector and that the investors are planning to extract 450 million barrels of non-renewable resource from beneath our sea bed”.
Gaskin told the Canadian delegation that the David Granger government is satisfied with the progress at the Lisa One project.
“We want to see that progress continue and we want to see oil produced by 2020 as schedule…we understand the transformational nature of this project and how it can provide learn term benefits to our people and to our economy if its properly regulated, monitored and managed.”
The delegation from 20 businesses in Canada, are partnering with the Guyana Office for Investment, GO-INVEST to share their knowledge on the emerging oil and gas sector.
Go-Invest chief executive officer, Owen Verwey, said he expects Guyana to benefit from the visit of the mission.
“If we don’t get involved and we don’t understand what is going to happen here, obviously we will be in a non-oil and gas economy. We don’t know what is required by the industry, partnering with those who would have experiences, partnering with those who are interested in teaching us, so that there will be a mutual benefit on both sides, is the biggest benefit from us,” Verway said.
The trade mission is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Business, GO-Invest the Ministry of Natural Resources and the government of Canada and the High Commission of Canada.