by Zena Henry
Minister of State Joseph Harmon said that Guyanese can look forward to working indirectly in the country’s rising oil and gas sector as early as next month.
He made the announcement last Sunday during an interview with Nice FM Radio in Antigua.
The minister answered questions by the Antiguan radio station which related to the government’s operations since ascending to government when he informed that numerous foreign companies are making their interest in the economy known.
While ExxonMobil is drilling for oil offshore Guyana, Harmon said that, “There are some companies that have come to us and said we can start doing work on land.” He said while work is being done on the rig, “there are the support services that can come from Guyana.”
Currently, he went on, “the bulk of this service is coming from Trinidad and Tobago” but once the work is expanded in a certain way, then these services can be done internally.
He said, “We have some companies here now in Guyana, looking at that, how we set up operations to provide service support for operations on the sea, and this will employ hundreds of Guyanese. This is going to be a direct benefit of the work that is taking place offshore and this is not going to have to wait for five years. Once these arrangements are set up, this is something that can start taking place in the next month or two.”
On this note, to cope with the rise in the oil and gas industry, Harmon said the government is working toward a different type of educated economy.
In areas directly related to mineral extraction, Harmon said when government officials visited the Exxon Mobil platform weeks ago, there weren’t many Guyanese onboard. “You had persons from all around the world, it was a mini United Nations out there. But we believe that if you have the persons with the requisite training and skills that we can negotiate with these companies to ensure a certain level of Guyanese on these rigs.”
He said the people would be retooled and retrained to cope with being an oil and gas producing nation.
The Canadian-registered oil exploration company, CGX Energy, is already in the process of constructing a deep water harbour in Berbice to offer similar support services to oil exploration companies like ExxonMobil.