The Government of Guyana has confirmed the appointment of Matthew Wilks to the post of Oil and Gas Advisor in the newly created Department of Energy which operates under the aegis of the Ministry of the Presidency.
A press release from the Ministry said that Wilks is an experienced oil and gas business developer and negotiator whose last post was that of Chief Commercial Officer at Maersk Oil, where he was involved in projects in Angola, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Norway, and Qatar. The Ministry said before that, Wilks worked at BG Group as Country Manager for Tanzania “at the time of significant offshore discoveries and rapid sector development there.” The release said Wilks also worked on projects in Bolivia, Egypt, Libya, Palestine, and Thailand while working for BG Group.
“Mr. Wilks has 32 years of experience in the global oil and gas industry, spanning all segments of the energy value chain including exploration and production, liquid natural gas, pipeline transportation, power generation, and project financing,” the release said.
It added that Wilks previously held management responsibility for international asset management and joint venture operations. “During his career, he has worked for, or opposite, several heads of state, other senior government officials and senior corporate executives,” the release said. Born in Australia, Wilks grew up in Kenya, earning a BSc Tripartite in Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry and a BSc Hons in Applied Physics from Robert Gordons University, Aberdeen.
Wilks effectively replaces Guyanese Dr Jan Mangal, who up to earlier this year held the post of Advisor on Petroleum to President David Granger. Mangal over the past months has emerged as a vociferous critic of the Government of Guyana’s efforts in preparing for first oil.
Wilks’ appointment also comes in the wake of the appointment of Dr Mark Bynoe to head up the Department of Energy, even as detractors questioned his suitability for the post because of his mainly environmental management background.