GEORGETOWN, Guyana, February 8, 2018 (CMC) – Guyana began a three-day international petroleum exposition, yesterday, urging local investors to be prepared for a level of investment and hive of business activity that is unprecedented in the history of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.
“Upgrade your skills and knowledge, improve the standards of your business, form alliances and partnerships, get ready to compete with the best, for they are already here on your doorstep,” Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman, told the opening ceremony of the event that has attracted more than 700 local, regional and international delegates.
“We also aim to be the gateway into, and out of, South America – to be a nation with resilient people and attitudes, who dared to dream and to take risks, because they believed that the future has to be seized, and isn’t going to be handed to us on a golden platter,” he intoned.
Trotman said that Guyana, with its new found oil wealth, must regard “our current situation as both a challenge to be overcome and an unprecedented height to be scaled”.
“We must mount up with wings, as our eagles do, and attain those heights,” he told the delegates, noting that the country has arrived at an important juncture in its history.
“What we do here, will determine the future of generations to come. For all that’s been said about what should or should not have been done, we have navigated through the complexities and dynamics of a fragile situation to make this all possible,” the Natural Resources Minister said.
“So today, we can stand at the foot of the mountain, excited about the ascent to the commanding heights of opportunity. History will record this as one of the most significant achievements of Guyana, and one which transcends our differences.”
Trotman urged that the country should not “lose sight of the historic moment” and “recognise and affirm our own right to own, to possess and to enjoy all of the rich and bountiful resources of Guyana”.
The Ministry of Natural Resources said that with six significant oil discoveries made in the offshore Stabroek block in just over two years, international attention is being focused on Guyana as the new oil Mecca in this part of the world.
It said that the event is not only expected to showcase Guyana as a vibrant investment destination in oil and gas and energy-related fields, but to also highlight opportunities for knowledge transfer and partnerships, which can redound to the benefit of local and regional entities that provide services in the oil and gas sector.
Trotman said that the current situation allows Guyana to enter into 50/50 partnerships with various international companies, including ExxonMobil, Hess, CNOOC Nexen, Repsol, CGX, Tulllow, Ratio Oil, JHI, Eco-Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic and Anadarko.
“Fifty percent of the net profits of four-plus billion barrels of oil, recoverable, is an almost incalculable amount that will come to the people of Guyana. Left untapped this resource will leave us with zero. One need not go on to enumerate the many indirect and spill-over benefits that will also flow.
“We welcome all of the overseas delegates as warmly as we welcome the Guyanese delegates, who have chosen to embrace our vision. Guyana is a place to do business and we have in place, and continue to strengthen, the rules and institutions that will govern this sector,” he claimed.
Trotman said he was speaking, specifically, to the petroleum laws and agencies, the Natural Resources Fund to be presented by the Ministry of Finance and the recent achievement of qualification for membership in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
“I can also add that with the guidance of members of civil society, we will soon be establishing a Multi-Stakeholder Committee on Natural Resources, which itself will have four sub-committees to address the areas of petroleum, mining, forestry and water,” he explained.
He said that by 2020, Guyana will begin producing petroleum and associated natural gas in substantial amounts, adding “the destiny of Guyana will be realised”.
He said the exposition and business summit represents the attainment of an important milestone and that this should not be mistaken for being merely another conference, or even a challenge to that which other groups and associations may host.
“It is the government of Guyana’s official statement to the citizens, and to the world, that ‘first oil’ in 2020 is no dream. It’s not a ‘nancy’ story, or an illusion. This is very real. It is here in these halls, corridors and pavilions that international businesses will find willing partners, and local entrepreneurs will establish the necessary contacts to build our burgeoning petroleum industry and its supporting services,” he said.
He told delegates God invites everyone to enjoy the boundless wealth and rich biodiversity of Guyana, and the coalition government believes “this mountain belongs to all of us and has to climbed by all of us”.
“We implore you to work with us to develop the untold riches that were hitherto sealed, but now are about to be released for the peaceful and prosperous evolution of our country and the wider CARICOM region. Divine providence has guided us to this point.
“It is perhaps coincidence and not providence that oil was discovered at this time; it is perhaps no coincidence that ExxonMobil made the discovery; and it is perhaps, again, no coincidence that the first and most significant step towards addressing the controversy of our border was made on January 30, 2018 by the United Nations’ Secretary General,” he said, in apparent reference to the decades-old border dispute with Venezuela that is now destined for the International Court of Justice (ICJ).