Lack of capacity should never be excuse against guaranteeing local participation in oil sector – Chamber Head as Local Content Conference begins

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Though local content is deemed meaningless without capacity, its absence should not be used as the basis to lock locals out of opportunities in a country’s oil sector. So said the Chairman of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce Guyana, Gabby Asare Otechere-Darko, as the two-day Ghana-Guyana Local Content Conference got underway on August 10 at the Guyana Marriott Hotel.

“From the onset, building capacity in local content Upstream Oil and Gas operations is perhaps the most important priority in any oil-rich country,” the Chamber Head pointed out. 

This is where Guyana and Ghana share similarities. Both introduced Local Content Laws early into oil production to ensure that its people benefit from the oil wealth. 

“For some of us, local content is a human right, it is a moral right, it is a social right, it is an economic right, it is an environmental right. And perhaps more importantly, it is a right and proper and beneficial to all stakeholders,” he added. 

And for it to flourish, it requires a “deliberate affirmative policy action” and also balancing the needs of policy markers, regulators, the local private sector, local communities IOCs [International Oil Companies]. It was against this backdrop that the Conference was derived; a collaboration between the Ghana Chamber of Commerce Guyana, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Local Content Secretariat in Guyana, and three paramount state agencies from Ghana’s petroleum sector. 

The Conference serves as a distinctive platform for private sector players from both countries to interact, share experiences, and identify investment and collaboration opportunities. The aim is to enhance local capacity and participation in the oil and gas sectors of both countries.  

Both countries have already been collaborating in local content; Guyana used Ghana’s template in the creation of its Local Content Law and has been receiving supporting technical support in other areas. And Otechere-Darko believes Guyana can learn a whole lot more from the West African country. 

“We believe and we know that [if] Guyana like Ghana, comes with a more deliberate strategy it has an even greater potential to build much bigger local champions and Guyanese,” he noted. 

Guyana’s Local Content Law was implemented back in December 2021 and the country has made strides in pushing local participation in the oil sector. 

More than 3,000 Guyanese are gainly employed as of June 30, 2023 and over US$700 million in local content spend has been retained. The Law has also enabled significant investment in small and medium-scale logistics and transportation enterprises to service the expanding oil sector. 

Last year alone, contractors and sub-contractors operating in Guyana’s oil and gas industry expended US$3.3 million on training locals by June; well surpassing the US$1.8 million initially pledged.


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