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Farmers, service providers can benefit big from development of offshore oil resources – Vickram Bharrat

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The Guyana government is looking to ensure that benefits from development of the country’s multi-billion-barrel oil resources are passed on to persons operating in every sector of the economy and not just those directly servicing the industry.

“It’s not only about direct proceeds coming from oil and gas, but if we can build strong local content where even a farmer can benefit from the oil and gas industry, where the produce from a farm could reach the FPSO and onto these offshore boats and other equipment, that would be the goal,” said Vickram Bharrat, Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources.

He told OilNOW this is the objective of the government as it moves forward with developing “a strong local content policy” where every Guyanese, not just those with technical skills, can benefit from the opportunities in the growing oil and gas industry.

“For example, simple things like drinking water, laundry…it’s not only about fabrication and shore base services, but we need a really strong local content policy and framework so that people can benefit outside of the direct proceeds,” he stated.

He said when the government moves forward with either repealing or amending the legal framework for the Natural Resources Fund, a clear plan will be put forward outlining how oil revenues will be invested into the various sectors of the economy.  

“Clearly, we have a number of issues with the Natural Resources Fund, one of which is the overwhelming dominance of the influence of the Minister of Finance on the sector and the use of the funds,” Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo, told reporters in August.

The Natural Resources Minister has said the intent is to “remove the Minister’s powers and increase the involvement of the Private Sector and other stakeholders” while protecting the fund from political interference.

Guyana stands to gain between US$96 billion and US$310 billion from development of the more than 8 billion barrels of oil equivalent resources discovered to date at the Stabroek block, according to projections from Norway-based Rystad Energy.

President Mohamed Irfaan Ali has pledged to ensure that these revenues are managed transparently and in a manner that will benefit Guyanese and further the development of the South American country.

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