Gov’t boosting ability to manage oil, gas sector through training

Guyana is enhancing its capacity to manage the oil and gas industry by providing training to key entities such as the Ministry of Natural Resources, and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC).

Part of the Whiptail project includes a review of the field development plan (FDP) submitted to the government by ExxonMobil.

Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat

The training initiative will facilitate that review process and was kickstarted on Tuesday at the ministry’s petroleum office, Brickdam, Georgetown.

Led by Bayphase, a reputable consulting firm from the United Kingdom, the programme is being supported by the World Bank’s Guyana Petroleum Resources Governance and Management Project.

Delivering remarks at the ceremony, Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat explained, “Similarly to how we have been building local capacity in the private sector so that businesses and Guyanese can benefit, we are trying to build capacity within to ensure that we can manage the sector to ensure that there can be full transparency and accountability.”

During these sessions, the ministry and its agencies will be exposed to innovative software and the various technical aspects of the Whiptail project.

In managing the sector, the ministry, GGMC, and other agencies execute several contract management activities including analysing technical reports, assessing development proposals, monitoring production activities, and verifying and auditing Operators’ costs.

This collaboration with BayPhase has significantly strengthened the ministry’s capacity to conduct reviews and by extension better manage these aspects of the sector.

The minister emphasised that the initiative is a critical element of the government’s agenda of building a strong, transparent, and efficient petroleum industry.

Minister Bharrat believes that true development is measured not by the resources a country possesses, but by how these resources are managed.

Already, a range of regulations and reforms have been introduced to improve oversight and efficiency in Guyana’s petroleum sector. These include the Natural Resources Fund (NRF) Act, the Petroleum Activities Act, and the Local Content Act.

“We have come a long way, but we know that there is more to do. I am happy to hear that the team can now work on the entire FDP rather than just sending it to Bayphase and then receiving a report after that. Now, they are integrally involved in the review and the analysis of the FDP, and I can see that over the last few licences that we have signed, we have gotten better over the years,” the natural resources minister posited.   

The Whiptail project is the sixth development venture being pursued by ExxonMobil for the Stabroek Block.

The field development plan for the project was submitted last year, along with an environmental impact assessment, which was handed over to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The project is expected to harness a daily oil production capacity of 250,000 barrels per day (bpd), taking Guyana’s oil production to about 1.3 million barrels per day.

The venture will involve the drilling of 33 to 72 development wells, tapping into three major reservoirs: Whiptail, Pinktail, and Tilapia.

Building on the momentum gained from smaller projects like Liza 1 and 2, the Whiptail project is expected to target harder-to-reach areas and deeper reservoirs.

It also promises immense opportunities for Guyanese, with a required workforce of around 800 persons.

World Bank Resident Representative for Guyana and Suriname, Diletta Doretti, and Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Natural Resources, Joslyn McKenzie, also delivered remarks at the simple ceremony.