“Grab each and every opportunity” in O&G – Guyanese youths urge

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Saipem Guyana interns; Kishan Madhoo (L) and Robin Vanhersel

The late influential business writer Peter Drucker once said, “the entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” This is also the advice being given to youths by two young men who have positioned themselves to work in Guyana’s emerging oil and gas industry.

Young Robin Vanhersel is currently an intern who serves as a Quality Coordinator for Saipem—the company contracted by ExxonMobil Guyana for the Engineering, Procuring, Construction and Installation (EPCI) of the Subsea Umbilicals Risers Flowlines (SURF) package for the Liza Phase 1 and 2 Development projects.

Vanhersel recently spoke to OilNOW and explained that he was recruited to be an intern with the company while he was still attending the Government Technical Institute (GTI). Explaining his role as a Quality Coordinator, he said, “I coordinate all the materials that come in and go out. It’s a really simple job but trust me, if you lose cargo it’s not simple.”

He further disclosed, “I didn’t go to the University of Guyana. As soon as I finished high school, I got a scholarship, so I went to study mechanical engineering at GTI. Before my exam, I was offered an internship so as soon as I finished my exams, I got all my paperwork done and I went on to the internship.”

As part of his internship, Vanhersel was flown to the United States, where he underwent three months of training. “We went to Houston, Texas. We spent three weeks in office doing the paperwork, going through the procedures and then they sent us to Louisiana to have exposure to the industry worksite where we saw how they start to build the sub-sea structures and do some testing,” he shared.

Offering a more detailed insight into his training, the young man explained while in Channelview, Texas, he got a closer look at the manufacturing of the pipes that would be installed in Guyana’s waters. “That’s where the pipes are manufactured. Where it goes from the pipe entering the factory, then they sandblast it, then they do one coating of FBE, that’s Fusion Bonding Epoxy,” he related.

“Then, it goes to another stage where it’s coated with adhesive coating, that’s to bond with the FBE so when it goes to the other stage, that’s where the polypropylene would bond against the FBE. The adhesive would help it to bond. When it goes to another stage, another layer of coating would be added, and on the final coating, there would be a fifth coating of polypropylene added to that coating,” the enthusiastic intern explained.

Asked how he feels about being among the first Guyanese to be directly employed in the developing petroleum sector, a smiling Vanhersel responded, “For me, it feels really great because out of school into the world of work, it feels awesome.”

Switching from his jovial demeanor to a more serious tone, the young man offered a word of advice to all young Guyanese. “I would encourage all the youths to take every opportunity when it comes to the oil and gas industry since it’s new to Guyana. I would encourage them to grab each and every opportunity, whether it’s a small one, it’s a big one, because eventually it will be big,” he urged.

He further stressed, “These opportunities that are coming, they’re coming with requirements. I would encourage them not to be afraid of the requirements. Some of them are asking for a Ph.D., Bachelor’s Degree and then you would be like ‘oh, I don’t have that so I am not applying.’” Optimistic about his future, he advised that persons not be disheartened by the requirements. Instead, he called on them to seek training opportunities and internships to enter the industry.

Similar sentiments were echoed by his fellow intern, Kishan Madhoo, who is a Health and Safety and Environmental Engineer attached to Saipem.

Speaking about his experience in the sector so far, the UG graduate said, “It has been very rewarding in terms of getting experience, and learning about the oil and gas industry, and understanding what is going on and how it will take Guyana forward.”

He reflected on how he was able to enter the industry, sharing with OilNOW that he had seen several vacancies on social media for positions in the oil and gas sector. “I applied to all of them,” he boldly shared, advising other young people to “Just apply. Don’t be afraid.”

Building on that advice, he said, “Up to this afternoon, I heard someone say social media is bad…but it’s you who make it bad. Social media is a great place to start, newspaper….and Exxon being good at PR showcase their vacancies and so on. So, just look out for those, talk to people that you know in the oil and gas industry, make your contacts…that’s important.”

He noted that he was also able to benefit from the training in Houston, and Louisiana.