By Tracey Khan – Drakes
[www.inewsguyana.com] – 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.”