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Regional News

May 28, 2012
Government to ink oil exploration agreement with US-based Anadarko
Clifford Stanley - Guyana Chronicle Online

… three other companies negotiating for licences

DESPITE the failure of the Eagle 1 well there continues to be tremendous interest in exploration for oil in Guyana, both on and off-shore.

Government expects to shortly ink a petroleum exploration agreement with the US-based Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, one of the world’s largest independent oil and gas exploration and production companies.

Minister Robert Persaud delivering a feature address at the launch of the Oil and Gas Guide yesterday. Also in picture are, from left, John Lewis of CGX, Ramesh Dookhoo of the Private Sector Commission and Canadian High Commissioner David Devine.

Making these disclosures yesterday, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Robert Persaud added that three other petroleum exploration companies are currently negotiating their licences, two for offshore and one for onshore explorations.

He said, “There are numerous  activities going on with respect to petroleum exploration, and we in Guyana, whether in the public or private sector, have to think ahead and prepare so that we are ahead of the game when the inevitable find is made.”

He made the remarks during the launch of the Oil and Gas Guide commissioned by the Canadian High Commission in support of the development of Guyana’s oil and gas industry.

The guide is aimed at at helping Guyanese businessmen to understand and prepare for future opportunities that will be created as the hydrocarbons sector develops in Guyana. The guide is intended to be a catalyst to start positive dialogues about the prospects of sub-sectors that will be created for the supply of goods and services, as well as on how best Guyanese companies can prepare for future opportunities when oil is discovered. The venue of the launch was the High Commission’s Program Support Unit Office at 56 Main and New Market Streets.

Among those present were High Commissioner David Devine, officials of the Commission, representatives of petroleum companies conducting exploration in Guyana, officials of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and senior members of the Private Sector Commission.

In a feature address, Minister Persaud said that government in itself has been moving very purposefully in preparation for the discovery of oil.

These preparations included updating the legislative frame-work, development of relevant institutions and the technical capacity of Guyanese.

Government partnered with the High Commission earlier this year in facilitating a Commonwealth mission review of the current Oil and Gas legislation to decide on the best models by which Guyana can regulate its budding industry.

Government is also upgrading the Petroleum Division of the GGMC by giving it the support of a Petroleum Advisory Board which will serve Cabinet and the president.

Efforts to increase the technical capacities of Guyanese include oil and gas education on the curriculum of the GGMC’s soon to be established mining school, and the acquisition of help in terms of technical advice and overseas training for Guyanese  from countries which have oil industries, including Canada, and have experiences to share. With respect to external help and advice, Persaud further disclosed that government had approached Trinidad and Tobago in this regard, and had been assured of the support of senior geologists attached to the petroleum sector of that country, as well as training of Guyanese with relevant skills.

The 60-page Oil and Gas guide, which was distributed to participants at the launch, is captioned: “Preparing for an oil and gas industry: starting a dialogue on servicing the hydrocarbon sector in Guyana.”

Other speakers at the launch were High Commissioner David Devine, Chairman of the Private Sector Commission Ramesh Dookhoo, and Director of ON Energy Inc., (a 62% owned subsidiary of CGX Energy Inc), John Alexander Lewis.

High Commissioner Devine said that he was optimistic that the launch of the guide will be the first step in an ongoing dialogue between key stakeholders as Guyana prepares for a burgeoning petroleum industry.

He said that there were some among the participants who may question, the timing of this initiative in the context of CGX Energy Inc. recent drill program.

He added that he would however underscore that the pursuit of oil is often challenging, and it is not guaranteed but the rewards can be immense and well worth the investment. “When we look at past examples of the development of prominent oil fields, we see that persistence is the key word. You need to build incrementally on the drilling research to effectively target a commercial field.”

He said that in Newfoundland, off the east coast of Canada, 42 wells were drilled before the eventual bonanza of 2.9 billion barrels of proven oil reserves was eventually found. Similar extended drilling programs were required in the North Sea prior to the discovery of a commercial field.

He said that the discovery of oil in French Guiana in 2011 has served to confirm that there is indeed a need for Guyana to be excited and to begin the process of preparation to realise the rewards from a hydrocarbon industry.

Chairman of the Private Sector Commission, Ramesh Dookhoo, observed that Guyana has no current pool of skills that can service an oil and gas sector and this is a lack that must be addressed at the earliest opportunity

He noted that it is a given that Guyana will need assistance of external investors in the sector and the advantages this country has to offer foreign direct investment are considerable.

He said, “We have an educated and trainable work force, political stability and an incentive regime that is attractive. Most of all, our investment Act of 2004 guarantees a level playing field for all investors. We welcome a symbiotic relationship with Canadian investors.

Mr. John Lewis of CGX presented a message from Chairman of the Board of CGX, Professor Suresh Narine, who was unavoidably absent.

In his message, Professor Narine disclosed that CGX looks forward to several more exploration wells in the near future.

He stressed that the activity of exploration, alone of itself, provides immense opportunities for local businesses and therefore the need for training programmes, for laboratory analytical support and a host of logistical and supply services which support the intense activities that are involved with the drilling of petroleum exploration wells.

He said that in the coming months, CGX will be seeking to elucidate some of the local opportunities that exist for sub-contractors, to encourage local businesses to position themselves for provision of services to its drilling activities, and to have the time to develop partnerships with other companies, such as those in Canada, to allow these local companies to source skills and supplies that they lack, from overseas partners.

The Oil and Gas Guide it was disclosed is a two-part study.

The first part seeks to raise awareness among the Guyanese private and public sectors of the capabilities and experiences of the East Coast Canada offshore supply industry.

The second part, undertaken for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), seeks to raise awareness within the industry of the East Coast Canada offshore supply sector, of the current developments in the offshore oil and gas industry in Guyana and Suriname, and to promote knowledge sharing and future partnerships.

It was prepared by Fred Wray, Consultant and former Canadian Minister of Energy, Cabinet Secretary and Chairman of the Canada Newfoundland and Offshore Petroleum Board.



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