Private sector urged to expand knowledge, hold unified position on O&G

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Leaders in Guyana's private sector along with other officials at a recent event in Georgetown, Guyana.

Guyana’s private sector is being urged to expand its knowledge base and adopt a unified position for the country’s emerging oil and gas industry.

OilNOW sat down with former High Commissioner of Canada to Guyana, Pierre Giroux prior to his departure from the South American country, for an extensive discussion on the oil and gas industry and Canada’s ongoing role in this regard.

As a key stakeholder, Guyana’s private sector will be expected to play a prominent role in this new industry and in many ways, lead on initiatives such as the delivery of local content, and work closely with policy makers on measures being put in place to regulate business operations in the sector.

Former High Commissioner of Canada to Guyana, Pierre Giroux

Mr. Giroux pointed to several areas in which the private sector can improve in order to be better positioned to benefit from opportunities in the industry.

“I think the most important aspect is really to increase what I would call the knowledge base of the oil sector,” he said, adding that this entails not only technical knowledge of the industry, but also the value chain.

Knowledge of the organizational aspect of the business is also important, he said, since this speaks to the norms and practices of the industry and provides an understanding of the standards by which it is guided. “So Guyanese businesses will have to try in part; to upgrade their internal organization and technical knowledge to be able to compete and offer the services to these international companies,” he said.

He pointed out that even if the government put into law; the use of Guyanese companies, but the technical capacity does not exist locally, the foreign companies may still not use them.

Mr. Giroux said an effective way to develop this capacity is through joint ventures and partnerships with companies knowledgeable in the industry. “I think it is also important to recognize that much of this capacity building will have to be done in conjunction with international partners. You cannot simply go to a book and read about the subject,” he stated. This approach, he pointed out, was used in Newfoundland, in which companies new to the industry there formed joint ventures with companies in Norway and the United States.

Also important for the private sector he said, is how the views and recommendations of the industry are structured and shared with policy makers and other stakeholders. “There are a lot of chambers, groups, commissions…and as I meet them separately, they all have different views. So to try to organize a unified discussion and view of it so that they would actually come with a common position towards the government…is very important,” the former Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana pointed out.

In July, Guyana’s Private Sector Commission announced that a commitment was made for the business community and key stakeholders to speak as “One Voice, One Private Sector” on oil and gas related matters.