World Bank readies Guyana for transparent oil, gas management

Last Updated on Monday, 9 May 2016, 8:06 by Denis Chabrol

The World Bank has agreed to help Guyana prepare for the next major step in becoming a member of the international watchdog on the use of resources such as oil, gold and forests, the Ministry of Natural Resources announced on Monday.

The global financial institution is expected to dispatch a consultant to Georgetown to help Guyana set up a Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) before Guyana could become a member of the Norway-headquartered Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI ).

“The Bank agreed to make the services of a consultant with experience in providing guidance towards EITI compliance, available to Guyana and also shared options for additional assistance once Guyana assumes membership. The consultant will facilitate the completion of the MSG process which is the next pivotal step in qualifying for candidacy,” the Ministry of Natural Resources said in a statement.

Government  said that the MSG will comprise representatives of government; industry and civil society and will help coordinate activities through a Guyana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GEITI) Secretariat, which will also be established.

The EITI is a global standard that promotes the sustainable management of natural resources and is acceded to by 51 countries, who have agreed to establish, uphold and advocate for the tenets of good governance in how their natural resources are managed.

The decision to provide the consultant was made at a meeting held on May 4, 2016 among representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources,  the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission the World Bank’sSenior Mining Specialist, Mr. Remi Pelon, and Extractive Industries Specialist Ms. Susan Moreira.

The Ministry said that to date, Guyana has satisfied the initial required actions for EITI candidacy but has reached out to the World Bank for support to complete the next step in the process which will ensure that Guyana is better prepared for the responsibilities of membership.  The discussions focused on assessing Guyana’s progress to date, evaluating the support that can be provided at present and exploring ways in which this support will enhance current ongoing initiatives towards compliance.

Guyana’s economy is heavily based on extractive industries, and will soon to become an oil and gas producing nation, the ministry said. American oil-giant ExxonMobil has discovered a significant deposit of oil offshore Guyana where it continues to explore for more reserves.

The Ministry of Natural Resources says it welcomes the support of the World Bank as it continues to make progress towards ensuring that Guyana’s natural resources are extracted and managed in a way that benefits both current and future generations.