Spread moored around 120 miles offshore Guyana, the Liza Destiny FPSO will soon receive another batch of Guyanese who will be embarking on their first stint offshore to undergo on-the-job training as operations and maintenance (O&M) technicians, having recently returned from Canada’s Cape Brenton University where they underwent training.
ExxonMobil Guyana said in a press update on Wednesday that some of the trainees from a group of 24, shared their experience and outlook about working on the South American country’s first oil production vessel.
“I’m so excited and cannot wait to actually be doing practical work and getting my hands dirty,” said Royston Khalil, an electrical technician who has been counting down the days to go offshore.
Royston, 28, hails from the Number 4 Village in West Coast Berbice and studied electrical installation at the GuySuCo Training Centre where he was an apprentice for four years before his training in Canada. “The knowledge and skills that I have gained and will continue to gain will contribute to a long-term career in the oil and gas sector, which I believe will help to create a bright future for myself and family,” he said.
Beyond personal gain, these young, bright, and skilled technicians are also passionate about the benefits that could be derived for Guyana. “There is lot of negativity out there, but we all have a unique opportunity to be part of an industry with the potential to develop Guyana even more,” Khalil added.
Similarly, Alex Latchman, a mechanical technician who was also a former apprentice at the GuySuCo Training Centre, is upbeat about the prospects, for which he believes his training has positioned him well. “These newly garnered skills are necessary for me to perform my roles and responsibilities effectively and efficiently onboard the Liza Destiny which is ultimately responsible for producing Guyana’s oil,” he said.
According to the press update, the group faced the usual challenges associated with studying in a foreign land, far away from loved ones. The one challenge worthy of mention for most of them was the climate in the North. But Shameer Ally, who specializes in instrumentation, did not let the cold stop him. “The main challenge was actually the weather and I said to myself that I went there for a reason, I had my goals, so I had to adapt,” he shared. Ally, who admits to becoming a lot more safety conscious even in his personal life, is confident that his training will ensure optimum performance “which will in turn help the company attain its objectives for the benefit of Guyana.”
For another trainee technician, Faudia Ramjohn, one of two women in her group, the male-dominated oil and gas industry is not preventing her from doing her best and also holding her colleagues to the same standard.
A former Queens College student, she has long had an affinity for science and technology, evident by the 12-subject CXC passes she achieved, including physics, chemistry and building technology.
She can easily be described as confident and articulate, but perhaps her most impressive quality is her courage of conviction, ExxonMobil stated in the press update.
“Developing a country’s resource is one thing, but developing my country’s resource adds entirely new feelings— those of pride, responsibility, an obsession to get it right and to do it as safely as possible,” the 22-year-old stressed. “I will hold myself, my colleagues and the company I work for accountable and I will ensure that our sector adds value to this country.”
The O&M technicians will work directly for operator of the FPSO, SBM Offshore, in support of ExxonMobil and its Stabroek Block co-venturers.
SBM Offshore has said it is looking to increase its local workforce and build the capacity of Guyanese to take up more leadership positions in its operations in the new oil producing country.
“We have about 30 percent…Guyanese on the FPSO and that will increase year-on-year, over the next years. And the ambition is, to have let’s say 70 or 80 percent local,” Michiel Heuven, Head of SBM Offshore’s Operations for North America and the Caribbean, told participants at the Caribbean Virtual Oil and Gas Summit (CARIVS) on Tuesday.
To date, more than 2,000 Guyanese are working on ExxonMobil activities in-country, which represents 55% of the total workforce.