Guyana prepares for transition to oil & gas economy


By Tracey Khan – Drakes

IMG-20150422-WA0000[] – The United States (US) Government has undertaken to provide technical and other forms of assistance to the Government of Guyana as it is prepares to transition smoothly to an oil and gas economy with the planning and oversight of the deep water offshore oil and gas exploration that is ongoing.

The first step in this regard has taken the form of an energy governance and capacity initiative workshop which commenced on Wednesday, April 22 at the Marriott Hotel. Persons attending this workshop were drawn from the Guyana Geology & Mines Commission (GGMC), the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); they are undergoing capacity building to assist in the transition process.

The workshop was organized by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and the US Embassy in Georgetown along with the Department of State and Department of the Interior.

The US, being a key player in this sector, is sharing its successes and challenges that were encountered during its transition in its efforts to help Guyana in its undertaking.

Bryan Hunt, Chargé d’ Affaires, U.S. Embassy, noted that the sector drives tremendous benefits but the risks are as equal.

“The unique technical and economics associated with natural resources extraction make this sector particularly prone to corruption and mismanagement.”

He said this can lead to the under development of the sector and therefore, “it is important for countries entering into the oil and gas production business to ‎put systems in place to avoid these problems before production starts and money begins to flow.”

This step, Hunt acknowledged is being taken by government with the engagement of international donors who possess the technical capacity and expertise in this regard.

“One way in which we pursue this is to discuss the US’ experience in developing our own resources including the best practices we have developed and the lessons awe have learned from our own challenges.”

Meanwhile, Natural Resources Minister Robert Persaud spoke of the need to ensure that the sectors are driven in an environmentally safe manner. He also acknowledged the US role as it continues to help Guyana to transition into the sector. He noted that legislations are being looked at to aid in this process and already a policy document has been created for such in the form of a ‘natural upstream oil and gas policy’.

“In Guyana we have started a very elaborate and comprehensive process preparing for an oil and gas economy…in all aspects in terms of how do we manage revenue to ensure transparency and also how do we look at safety in terms of technology and even very crucially how do we reach out for investment.

“We are still in the exploration phase so we have to temper expectation as we know we have Exxon currently carrying out drilling and they are well on schedule, all of us have our fingers crossed hoping that in a few weeks we will be able to have some good news…we are preparing for this sector and the government is firmly fixed in ensuring that even as we move through the phase of exploration that we are well advanced and well prepared and we also learn from other countries who have gone through similar process and similar journey in this regard.”




  1. Well said David, totally agree with you. I hate to bring past situations up but I must use it as an example to strengthen on what you have already offered. We can’t as a nation afford another OMAI! Where not even 1 single ounce of gold from the 2-3 million ounces that were extracted remained in Guyana. What was left were cyanide pits for us to swim in!

    However, regarding the oil exploration. It should be noted that those are agreements that are carbon copies of all other oil producing countries. So Guyana is not making a different agreement or swaying away from the traditional agreement. Having said that it is also public record and knowledge of what Guyana stands to earn once oil and gas resources have been discovered. I will do a follow up message with the actual numbers as it relates to this subject.

  2. The ordinary Guyanese have benefitted very little from their natural God- given resoures . Only a few have. Expatriate companies with a few locals always find a legal way to rape and reap from under our nose . The Oil Exploitation is no different . Upfront levels of benefits must be clearly spelt out during initial discussions.. and must be filtered down to the ordinary man.


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