Guyana’s Private Sector Commission is establishing closer ties with its Surinamese counterpart for enhanced collaboration as both countries pursue oil and gas development.
The Guyana-Suriname Private Sector Business Council headed by Guyanese Paul Cheong was created in 2022 and on Jan. 27, its first meeting was held. Just after initial discussions, the Council presented to Suriname’s Head of State, Chandrikapersad Santokhi, a white paper on suggested areas of partnership.
Cheong explained to OilNOW, that those areas range from agriculture to tourism and even technology and disaster risk management – since the two share an oil and gas basin.
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“There is so much potential for us to transform things and all of those things [in the white paper] are opportunities for us to collaborate,” he explained.
Guyana and Suriname are separated by the Corentyne river, with a ferry crossing service available from Moleson Creek to South Drain, Nieuw Nickerie. But this year, construction is set to start on a new link – a bridge connecting the two.
Cheong believes that this will bode well for trade between the two states but identified the lengthy check in process at the ferry service as an immediate challenge.
“We need to simplify the movement because there is so many checks you have go through [using a paper-based system] and that can be made easier…using technology; you can probably fill out your information online, you get a QR code to scan when you arrive and move smoothly instead of all those checks,” he said.
The Guyana-Suriname basin is currently undergoing a boom in the petroleum sector, with the bulk of the reserves discovered on the Guyana side. In 2022 alone, 1.9 billion oil-equivalent barrels were discovered in the basin, Westwood Global Energy Group estimated.