Int’l Energy Expo 2023 launched with focus on traditional sectors

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Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret'd) Mark Phillips

The International Energy Conference and Expo 2023 was launched on Friday evening with an emphasis on enabling conversations on energy but extending to other critical sectors.

Under the theme: “Harnessing Energy for Development”, the confab is expected to run from February 14 to 17, 2023. The last event brought policymakers and companies into the same arena for realistic discussions on the energy future – an aim for future conferences. However, it will seek to incorporate agriculture, mining, housing, forestry, and tourism as part of a “greater conversation” on investing in a greener Guyana.

Chairman of the Private Sector Commission Paul Cheong noted that the last event demonstrated local leadership in the energy sector and is an avenue for developing long-term linkages for business success.

He added that the Private Sector will benefit significantly from linkages with experts, keeping up to date with technologies in sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, ICT, and services. With numerous opportunities for all stakeholders, Cheong said building local capacity is key, especially with the renewed interest witnessed from partners.

Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat related that the next conference will be one with a difference thereby shining a light on every sector. The Government has been aiming to use the attention from oil and gas to develop and sustain traditional sectors.

He commended the Private Sector and business chambers, especially in wake of the fact that it is a new industry.  The Minister also advised that Government will play a part in building capacity but Guyanese should take opportunities with the investments through certification and enhancing skillsets to benefit tangibly.

“We are happy to see that it is not an oil and gas exposition or an oil and gas conference, but it is an energy conference with a mix with agriculture, tourism, forestry and mining. So, I think the year 2022 leading into 2023 would probably be the year that Guyana will stand out. It would be the year that you should be in Guyana.”

He added, “Since we took office, we’ve been moving at quite a fast pace in terms of moving development, getting the project and I think for some reason is it is contagious. It is catching on.”

Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharat handing over a plaque to a representative from Hess Corp Guyana, which was one of the Gold Plus Sponsors of the inaugural International Energy Expo 2022

In his feature address, Prime Minister Mark Phillips positioned that the first conference created an opportunity for discourse and ideas to be distilled. Reflecting on the theme, he noted that harnessing energy has been a challenge but the Government has the mandate to bring development to all Guyanese.

With the resource comes the responsibility to develop the country and will not be limited to the coastline, bridging the energy and digital divides.

“The revenue from the resource will be utilised to improve the infrastructure whether it be roads, bridges, wharves, ferry aerodromes throughout Guyana. The development should not be limited to the coastline. It will also be developed in our hinterland. We utilise the resource to bridge the digital divide. We utilise the resources to bridge the energy divide. We will utilise the resource to improve housing, education, and health facilities for all the people of Guyana. This is a resource that we will utilise to transform Guyana from a country that is dependent on fossil fuel or the use of non-renewable energy towards greater usage of renewable energy,” the PM highlighted.

In February, the inaugural International Energy Conference and Expo brought together leaders, international executives, and companies on the energy future.

Over 150 exhibitors were registered for the event – 40 of which were local companies or operators. The event saw several Heads of State participating including President Dr Irfaan Ali, Ghanian President Nana Akufo-Addo, Surinamese President Chandrikapersad Santokhi and Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley.

The Expo was geared at showcasing Guyana as the oil and gas investment destination, creating and building effective industry relationships, providing the medium for local businesses to access collateral and joint ventures, which is in keeping with the goals and objectives of the Local Content Policy.

Government also used the opportunity to highlight its complement of spin-off oil and gas investments and forthcoming national infrastructural projects planned for the short to medium term.

Platinum awards were distributed to ExxonMobil Guyana and GTT for their contribution towards the last conference.