While the emphasis on degrees in engineering and geosciences is necessary as Guyana seeks to build capacity for the oil and gas sector, there will be a growing need for technical and other skills which one official with experience in the industry says may already exist in other sectors of the economy.
“There is usually an emphasis on degrees and on advanced degrees in engineering and geo-sciences and that of course is welcomed and very important,” said Kevin Ramnarine, former Trinidad and Tobago energy minister. “But there is also equally an important demand for technical skills such as the advanced types of industrial welding; the tig welding, and the flux-cored welding.”
Welders provide services in the oil and gas industry mainly in the areas of fabrication and construction and are responsible for cutting, shaping, and joining sections of metal, alloys or other materials using specialist welding methods and according to specific design drawings and specifications.
Already, SBM Offshore, the builder and operator of the Liza Destiny FPSO which is producing oil offshore Guyana, said it is looking to execute scope for fabrication and coating of a portion of the light structural steel for the third FPSO it has been contracted to build for the Stabroek block operations. SBM Offshore said this would be a first for the company, in country.
“It is also evident that training is going to be required for careers in a maritime environment as the number of vessels operating in Guyanese waters will significantly increase over the next decade,” Ramnarine said, in what he describes as the ‘great ramp up’ in activities for the new oil producing South American country.
He pointed out that skill sets already resident in manufacturing, fisheries and the mining sectors in Guyana can potentially migrate to the oil and gas sector.
“Take note that both Edison Chouest of Louisiana and the Wood Group of Scotland; two major companies today, started off in the fishing industry before they evolved to support offshore operations in the Gulf of Mexico and in the North Sea respectively, so it can be done,” he stated.
He said in Trinidad and Tobago, Sookhai’s Diesel Service Ltd. moved from providing services in the sugar industry to the oil industry when the latter closed in 2003. “Today they are a major provider of services for diesel engines in the petroleum industry,” the former energy minister said.
While the ease of doing business in Guyana and other countries in the CARICOM region remains a challenge, Ramnarine said he believes Guyana is moving in the right direction.
“I am happy to see therefore that the government of Guyana has committed to making it easier to do business in Guyana as evidenced by the recent announcements by President Irfaan Ali of an electronic single window for trade,” he said.
Ramnarine recently served on a panel advising the Guyana government on the most effective local content framework that should be adopted. A report has since been provided to authorities which Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, has told OilNOW the President will pronounce on soon.