Guyana legislators approve US$5.3M natural resources work programme

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Guyana's National Assembly

Guyana’s legislators on Tuesday approved – unchallenged in the National Assembly – the Ministry of Natural Resources US$5.3M (G$1.1B) 2018 work programme of which US$145,000 (G$30M) has been allocated for oil gas related activities next year.

Included in the allocations for the Ministry are amounts for the building of institutional capacity in the oil and gas sector, as well as the advancement of its legal and regulatory frameworks.

The multi-year US$10.6M ($2.2B) Oil and Gas Development Programme – of which US$145,000 (G$30M) has been allocated for 2018 – envisages the development of “policy, strategy, action plan, legal and regulatory framework for the Oil and Gas sector.”

Speaking to the Ministry’s preparation for the sector in the coming year, Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman informed the House on Friday last, “our draft oil & gas policies and legislative documents represent Guyana’s attempt at setting out specific policy and legislative objectives, and management measures for the exploration and potential development of upstream oil and gas resources found in the country.”

As such, Mr. Trotman indicated his Government’s recognition of the need to improve the policy and regulatory framework by including issues such as licensing and contracting, fiscal framework, transparency and accountability, local content and environmental management.

According to Mr. Trotman, several critical pieces of legislative instrument and policy documents are currently in draft format, including: revisions to the 1986 Petroleum Exploration & Production Act & Regulations; Oil and Gas Policy; Local Content Policy; Petroleum Commission Bill; Environmental Regulations; Health and Safety Regulations; Petroleum Taxation and Fiscal Legislation; and the Sovereign Wealth Fund Bill.

He reported that during 2017, both the Petroleum Commission Bill and the Local Content Policy were widely disseminated for public scrutiny and currently, “The Bill is before the Select Committee while the Policy is being finalized with stakeholder feedback.”

According to Mr. Trotman, during 2018, the other pieces of legislative and policy instruments will be disseminated for stakeholder consultations and tabled in the National Assembly.

The Minister used the opportunity, too, to report to the House on the hiatus regarding the implementation of the Petroleum Commission Bill.

Mr. Trotman related to the House that this is “so that we can receive all fit and proper proposals that may be out there.”

He relayed to the Members of the House, “this moment will not come again and how we prepare to manage this resource, in particular, will determine the long-term future of the country so I will recommend to Cabinet that the format is changed from the standard semi-autonomous one to make the Commission more independent and inclusive so that it can enjoy national support.”