DIRECTOR of the Department of Energy, Dr. Mark Bynoe, has said that Guyana has raked in over US$75 million in 2018 from local content in the oil and gas sector.
He made the disclosure during a meeting with Albouystown residents held at the Heavenly Light World Outreach Centre on Saturday.
“What [local content] basically speaks to is how much Guyanese are benefitting from this sector; whether through products that are being purchased, whether through labour as being employed or whether goods that are being produced… Guyana has benefitted directly to the tune of over US$75M from local content in 2018,” he told the Albouystown gathering.
This figure, he said, was derived “directly” from the emerging oil and gas sector and does not include downstream impacts of the industry such as works in mechanics, electrical work, welding and technical warehousing, among others.
As such, Dr. Bynoe contended that the value of this sector, when taken in totality, will be significantly greater.
In Guyana’s Stabroek block alone, there have been 12 discoveries so far; through these, there is in excess of 5.5B barrels of recoverable oil.
Guyana is expected to begin oil production in early 2020 and, Dr. Bynoe pointed out, will garner revenues from the very first day.
As the country prepares for this, he indicated that the Energy Department is working to ensure Guyanese are involved directly and indirectly in the industry.
“As of the ending of 2018, 54 per cent of persons directly employed in the oil and gas sector are Guyanese,” he said, noting that the Energy Department intends to up this figure to 75 per cent and even greater by 2020.
In a government release, it was noted that Exxon and its main contractors utilise the services of 227 suppliers and individuals in 2018 and some 309 the previous year.
The director, however, stressed that there is a dearth of technical skills in Guyana and while efforts are being made to employed local persons, it is unavoidable that foreign experts will penetrate the industry.
“Recruitment and institutional strengthening of the sector is part of our mandate,” Dr. Bynoe said, pointing out that this is being done by hiring expatriates and international experts.
The aim, he said, is to facilitate knowledge transfer to Guyanese, who will one day wholly manage the industry.
“Let’s not be pennywise and pound foolish,” he stressed, adding: “What we are seeking to do is work in a collaborative way to achieve what it is we want to achieve.”
Recently, 25 Guyanese were recruited to work on the Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, which would have about 100 to 150 persons on board. An FPSO is basically a floating vessel that stores barrels of oil. The vessel is expected to meet Guyana’s shores later this year.
Dr Bynoe also encouraged the residents to focus on developing themselves in their respective fields, since the petroleum sector employs only a small percentage of persons because most of the work is highly mechanised.
He explained, too, that there are a myriad of areas that need development and skilled persons. These include the medical, teaching and construction professions.
“What we should be training ourselves for is the expansion of investment that is coming or that has already started as well as the new Guyana that is to come. We don’t have to chase after oil and gas, what you have to do is to position yourselves, because Guyana will have the great need of those very skills to transform it into the new Guyana that is to come,” the energy director said.