Saturday, June 3, 2023

As Guyana mulls NOC, Saudi Arabia markets itself as knowledgeable energy partner

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With a delegation of over 40 private sector and government representatives arrived in Georgetown from Saudi Arabia Saturday, the Kingdom is marketing itself to Guyana as a knowledgeable energy partner.

Its Deputy Minister for Investors Outreach, Badr Al Badr, said during a Saudi Investment Conference at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre that the Kingdom knows how to navigate dealing with major oil companies, industry distributors and service providers.

He said Saudis bring strong capabilities to help Guyana grow bigger and faster, with cutting edge technology that can help the country on its way to becoming a major oil producer in a way that minimises emissions and utilises carbon capture technology. These are all priorities of the Guyana government, as outlined in its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030.

The comments come as Guyana nears a decision on whether it should establish a national oil company (NOC) to earn more from the development of its near 11 billion oil-equivalent barrels. The Guyana government said that if it does establish a NOC, it will be with a strategic partner that will take shares and operate the company on Guyana’s behalf. Guyana would only be involved as a passive investor.

The Saudi Minister noted that Saudi Aramco, the largest oil company in the world, is represented in the delegation. Energy Analyst from Americas Market Intelligence, Arthur Deakin, had opined that Saudi Arabia would be a frontrunner for Guyana’s NOC partner.

Notably, the cooperation offered by the Investment Minister was not restricted to Saudi Arabia, but private companies from the Kingdom as well.

Guyana President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, in his address, stressed the importance of strong decision-making, and not “circular talk” as the two sides engage in discussions. Dr. Ali said, not specific to an area of cooperation, that if Saudis want to partner with Guyana, that the conversation must move forward.

“Let us establish what is it we want to partner on and how we can secure that partnership,” Dr. Ali said. In a response to the President, the Saudi Investment Minister said that the Kingdom brought a delegation of “decision-makers” who are committed to fostering lasting strategic relationships with Guyana, to grow its economy.

The question of whether Guyana will form a national oil company (NOC) depends on the best course to take to get more value from the oil and gas sector, according to Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo. The government is preparing to launch an offshore auction later this year.

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