ExxonMobil Guyana on Friday defended the company’s policy on local content, stating that at this stage of the oil and gas development in the South American country, “the efforts in local content development are really good.”
The company’s Country Manager, Rod Henson, along with a team from ExxonMobil appeared before the Parliamentary Sectorial Committee on Natural Resources on Friday.
ExxonMobil was recently criticized for a list of 227 companies published by the Department of Public Information, which were said to be benefiting from its operations in Guyana. Some sections of the society said at the time that the level of involvement of local businesses was low and the degree to which they were benefiting, nominal.
“Those 227 companies; some are large companies with big spends and some are small companies. We are obligated to represent every dollar we spend and every company we work for but it is important to note whether the Guyanese companies are large or small they are important to our project,” Henson said.
On the point of workforce development, he stated, “We have hired within EEPGL; three Facilities Engineers – two we got from the University of Guyana and one from the University of the West Indies, but all three are Guyanese citizens so they have started to work with us six months ago and they are on a two year training programme. Right now they are working in the United States in the Gulf of Mexico industry there and they are preparing themselves for 2020 so they will be well-qualified.”
The areas, which the men are being trained in, include managing risks, process safety, subsea engineering, and logistics.
In providing recent updates of its local content approach, Henson said, “We have provided for just the first quarter of 2018, 60,000 hours of training. My staff has grown to 40 employees and 70% of those employees are Guyanese and several are in management positions.”
Additionally, he mentioned that “If you look beyond EEPGL to our contractors working on the project, those numbers for Guyanese workers are about 50% right now, which is something I am very proud of…This is stellar progress for where we are today, which is very early in the industry.”
He reminded that the industry is not labor intensive and “so, we don’t envision tens of thousands of jobs. It is really going to be in the hundreds to low thousands type of jobs.”
Approximately 585 Guyanese are currently working with the US oil company, which is some 52 percent of its workforce.