Guyana President will directly oversee new Petroleum Department

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Joseph Harmon , Guyana's Minister of State

The Petroleum Department which is to be set up soon in Guyana will be directly guided by the country’s Head-of-State, President David Granger, while Minister of State, Joseph Harmon will handle all matters related to the Department, in the National Assembly.

The disclosure was made by Mr. Harmon at a media briefing held on Friday at the Ministry of the Presidency, where the new Department will be housed. This move, which is based on a recommendation by Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman, provides more space, authority and resources and the direct eye of the President in dealing with the petroleum sector.

“Once it is the Ministry of the Presidency, the Minister of State is the person who will answer in the National Assembly for any matter that relates to the Ministry of the Presidency,” Mr. Harmon pointed out.

A group of Ministers appointed by President Granger to overlook the Petroleum Sector has been tasked with finalizing the details of the Department’s establishment and function, such as “Organization structure of the Department, legislation to be introduced for the sector, negotiations with potential investors, exploration and production licenses, public communications responsibilities, the engagement of technical experts, the establishment of a natural resources – or as some call it a Sovereign Wealth Fund – capacity building measures, review of fiscal contractual terms, and the transfer of responsibility from the Ministry of Natural Resources to the Department of Energy in the Ministry of the Presidency,” the State Minister said.

Mr. Trotman, the Ministry of the Presidency said last month, “…has provided sterling leadership in the development of the sector and it is under his stewardship that significant progress has been made in capacity building and preparations for first oil.”

Oil production is set to begin in the South American country by March 2020 with the Liza Phase 1 development. Phase 2 is targeted for 2022 while a 3rd development at the Payara/Pacora reservoir could begin as early as 2023.