Guyana’s Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo says the country has improvements to make in its natural resource governance structure, but that he is generally satisfied with the efforts made thus far by the government.
Jagdeo, who is the government’s chief policymaker on oil and gas matters, said government recognises the need for a steep learning curve. Government is also cognisant that “there are a number of policy-making issues that will haunt us until we have a settled regime,” Dr. Jagdeo said. “Because we are new to this business.”
The government, he explained, has done much for the oil industry. “We have kept protecting the national interest. I’m talking about the period for which we have accountability – that is – from 2020 to 2022. In that period, we have achieved quite a bit.”
He highlighted that the government was able to strengthen environmental permits in a major way, pointing to the tax on flaring, among other things.
“We have strengthened the licenses for the [floating production, storage, and offloading vessels] FPSOs; we passed local content legislation which is a game changer for Guyanese businesses. We are going to launch an auction. We are working on the 1986 Petroleum Act. We have strengthened the ministry [of Natural Resources] enormously,” Jagdeo said.
The government has encouraged offshore operators to be aggressive in exploring and developing Guyana’s petroleum resources, so that the country can reap benefits before the transition to renewable energy sources.
The Vice President alluded to this as a point of pride. He also discussed the Gas-to-Energy project that will secure much cheaper, cleaner, and reliable energy for Guyanese. The government intends to utilise gas as a transitional fuel.
Dr. Jagdeo also pointed to the Natural Resource Fund Act which, he said, is regarded as one of the strongest pieces of legislation to govern the use of sovereign wealth funds.
“I am pleased with all the effort put into improving the regime [and] getting more for our people,” the Vice President added.
He said there is much more to be done in the future.