As rumours swirl in Guyana of another large offshore oil find, the country has begun to put in place the legislation necessary to regulate the vast income that the industry is expected to generate for the country.
Speaking on December 1 at the Annual Awards ceremony of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, said that Guyana was “on the verge of acquiring fortunes that some had only fleetingly thought possible, with the discovery of oil offshore Guyana.”
Noting that since ExxonMobil reported its discovery of hydrocarbons in its Liza-1 exploration well, the company and its joint venture partners have been working around the clock and that “first oil” is now “just a few short years away.”
Mr Trotman said that the Government of Guyana, recognising that the amount of money that will circulate throughout the economy because of the oil and gas finds, was developing plans and legislation as a national priority “to ensure that it is exploited in a manner that helps spur economic development and that such development is sustainable and equitable.”
Setting out eight areas in which government was introducing policies and laws regulating the industry, its taxation and the establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund Legislation, he said that Government intended to have draft legislation available by December 31 this year.
In his remarks to the Chamber, he said that government was determined that the income would benefit local communities and was as interested in developing those Guyanese sectors able to support the industry.
Noting that the oil and gas sector is extremely complex, requiring specialised skills and expertise, he said that Government recognised the need for a highly skilled workforce. It would, therefore, revamp the public education system and “integrate the supply of labour into a flexible, technical vocational education and training system to rapidly raise skills.”
Mr Trotman identified a number of skills of particular importance to the sector that need to be developed. These include in aviation, waste management, fuel supply, catering, security services, scaffolding, warehousing, janitorial services, housing and accommodation, schools, transportation, petroleum engineers, equipment operators, and roustabouts to undertake general labouring activities.
In his remarks, which also included detailed references to Guyana’s other extractive industries, the Minister noted the recent formation of an Oil and Gas Association of Guyana, observing that it was also working closely on oil and gas related initiatives with the country’s Private Sector Commission, and the Guyana Manufacturers and Services Association.
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