By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment on Wednesday, January 21 launched the National Upstream Oil and Gas Policy which represents Guyana’s first attempt at setting out specific policy objectives and implementation measures for the exploration and potential development of upstream oil and gas resources here.
Subject Minister Robert Persaud said it is important that Guyana is prepared for significant commercial oil and gas discoveries expected in its offshore basin.
The Minister outlined the steps that have been taken to get to this point; saying it was important not to be caught off-guard and to avoid errors made in other countries.
“We have to be prepared for the sector. We cannot be caught napping!” Persaud told those gathered at the Herdmanston Lodge, Georgetown for the launch and consultation.
He says priority is being given to the development of strong and effective legislative and institutional framework that will ensure the sustained and transparent management of the sector and commodity.
He said a number of activities are taking place currently in Guyana’s offshore areas with Exxon Mobil expected to commence drilling early this year. This is why he says it is urgent that the legislative framework for management is developed along with local human resource.
According to the Minister, the aim is to develop a vibrant and sustained strategy that would take into account the social and environmental factors which will see lasting prosperity and a utilization of the natural resource in keeping with the nation’s needs.
“We cannot wait until we get oil and gas to talk about it. We have to talk about it now. We have to be prepared to utilize and manage,” Persaud said as he acknowledged that the political climate exists for this to happen.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, who has oversight for the sector, said he was pleased this day has come.
He said while nothing significant was found in the past, he remains hopeful that oil and gas will be found in Guyana’s offshore areas even as searches continues onshore in the Rupununi basin.
He says preparation will continue to ensure Guyana is “ready enough.”