While it is crucial for local investors to position themselves to benefit from the opportunities that lie in Guyana’s booming oil sector, they should also take caution in not having tunnel vision. According to President Irfaan Ali, Guyanese investors must “think bold” and seek to capitalize on some of the business opportunities that will arise as Suriname develops its offshore oil discoveries.
The Head of State made these comments on Saturday during his feature address at the opening ceremony of the Saipem Offshore Construction Facility.
There, Ali stated that Guyana has the “first jump” on capitalizing on the Dutch nation’s oil prospects. He continued, “A lot will happen in Suriname [so] what are we doing to ensure we can provide some of the business solutions? We have to think bold[ly]. We [have to] go after some.”
Further to this, Mr. Ali said Guyana’s private sector members need to collaborate to “build synergies and consortiums” and go after opportunities to give the government “something to fight with you for.”
Even as he called on Guyanese to make use of business opportunities locally and further afield, Mr. Ali made it clear to international oil companies that he will not stand for seeing locals bypassed for contracts to provide basic services in the country.
The President was keen to point out that some fundamental opportunities in the petroleum sector should automatically go to Guyanese. If this were to not happen, he warned that the government would be forced to change its policy on local content.
“Do not tell me I need a foreign logistics firm to tell me how to do brokerage services or how to clear something at the airport or how to hire taxis and do rentals in the industry and then the very logistics companies will come here and do the work themselves,” he said. “It will not go down well…I am telling you openly, whether you are a subcontractor or not it will not go down well…you will push us to change our policy.”
Massive offshore discoveries of hydrocarbon resources in the Guyana-Suriname Basin is creating a major economic boom for the South American sister countries with Guyana already producing oil at its first deepwater development, and multiple additional projects on the way.