Outgoing US Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway has urged the Guyana Government to fast track their preparations for first oil during a final media engagement last week.
According to the Holloway, Guyana is now home to the world’s biggest new deep-water oil discovery and with principle explorer ExxonMobil pushing for the development of the oil reserves, production is scheduled to begin in 2020.
Only last week, the US oil giant announced its 10th discovery, reinforcing the country’s potential to be able to produce more than 750,000 barrels of oil daily by 2025.
The US diplomat said Guyana is about to experience something big that is also moving very fast, and while he commended efforts thus far by the coalition Government, he believes more should be done at a much quicker pace.
“This will be the fastest any country would have ever discovered oil, deep water, and produced it basically in less than five years. So this is moving very fast. I do commend the Government, they have taken a lot of steps but this is really fast. So as it accelerates, the Government is going to need to accelerate its activities, if it wants to keep up with the pace of things,” he posited.
According to the former Ambassador, there is no secret of what needs to be done with the plethora of advice and recommendations pouring in from other countries, including the US, and international stakeholder bodies particularly as it related to the setting up of what the Government has termed as the ‘Natural Resource Fund’ (NRF).
“Guyana’s going to have to get its regulatory environment straight. They are working on it, they have passed some laws, they have the Department of Energy, they need to figure out how they are going to do – whatever it is called whether a Sovereign Wealth Fund or rainy day fund or green fund, but whatever when the money comes in, how do you manage it for the good of the future. There are a lot of models out there… Your politics change but you need to make it as not controlled by one or two individuals but by tight lines and priorities as much as possible,” Holloway stated.
Noting that Government’s priority may very well be the same, the US diplomat suggested that education, health, security, infrastructure and agriculture be the top areas that the ‘oil money’ be injected into.
“Believe me when I say this, this is more money than God has. There is going to be money to spend on 10 priorities if you have 10. The amount of money will not be Guyana’s problem it is how do you spend it… how you protect it and save it for the future, that is going to be Guyana’s problem,” he asserted.