Guyana can learn global oil industry standards from TT– Energy Chamber of Trinidad Tobago assures

  —“No, Trinidadian companies are not coming to take over”; 

ECTT CEO, Dr Thackwray Driver

The Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago (ECTT) on Wednesday sought to dispel concerns that businesses from that twin-island Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member state are coming to Guyana to dominate the oil sector, instead saying that they are grasping business opportunities hinged on 100 years of experience and international safety standards.

ECTT Chief Executive Officer, Dr Thackwray Driver rubbished claims by sections of Guyana’s business community that Trinidadians are coming here in droves to take over the oil sector.   

“No, Trinidadian companies are not coming to take over. Trinidadian companies are coming because they are seeing business opportunities in a fast-developing industry where there is a huge amount of opportunity which exists for everybody,” he told reporters after one of the ECTT executive members raised concerns during the “Guyana Safety Forum 2019” held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre under the theme “Building a robust safety culture for private sector development”.

The event was mainly attended by TT businessmen as there was no known Guyanese businessman or representative from any of the local private sector organisations including the American Chamber of Commerce-Guyana, Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry or the Private Sector Commission.

One of the participants, speaking during an interactive session, expressed concern about the low turnout by Guyana’s private sector. But Dr Driver brushed off such concerns and said he was aware that the Guyanese business community was being inundated by people coming to give advice and “it probably can get a bit tiring”.

ECTT ‘s, Dwight Mahabir

Dr Driver’s assurance came against the background of periodic concerns by the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce that Guyanese businesses are being disadvantaged by an increasing number of entities from TT that are seeking opportunities in the oil and gas sector.

ECTT Executive Member, Dwight Mahabir, said he was aware of concerns in Guyana about foreigners getting involved in the emerging oil and gas sector.

However, he told the Guyana Safety Forum that such critics must never discount the need for a high level of safety. “There is a real apprehension about Trinidad companies coming because they see it as, understandably, a risk to their business and so on, but there is a lot that’s involved in oil and gas that what you get away with otherwise, you are not going to get away with because it’s over a century of learning that has found itself in codes and practices and so on,” said Mahabir who has also registered a company in Guyana.

Dr Driver emphasised that the major oil companies would never tolerate shortcuts to safety standards because of the adverse impact that failures could cause to life and the environment. “For Guyanese companies meeting those safety requirements, that’s step one. You cannot get through the door to do business if you are not meeting those requirements. The international companies will not lower their requirements in order to do business with Guyanese companies nor should you ever asked them to or want them to because you want people to be safe,” he said.

Participants at the “Guyana Safety Forum 2019” that was held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre under the theme “Building a robust safety culture for private sector development”.

Pressing home the importance of safety, Dr Driver stressed that “You do not want to have people killed by the industry. You do not want to have spills, where you’re spilling hydrocarbons so, as a country, you should be pushing those international operators to have the highest possible standards and you should be pushing and challenging your local private sector to step up to meet those requirements,” he said.

He added that if companies want to be part of the oil and gas sector they must meet “high” international standards which TT has racked up for more than 100 years in working with BP, Shell, and Amoco. “Each Guyanese private sector company is going to have to decide if it wants to be part of this business. What’s the best route for it to take into it,” he said.

ECTT officials have pointed out that the CARICOM Single Market and Economy facilitates businesses and certain categories of persons from participating member states to enjoy the same rights such as free movement of capital and rights of establishment. “There is the freedom of capital to move around the Caribbean so companies are going to be here investing,” Dr Driver added.

He noted that some items and services that had been exported directly from Trinidad to Guyana’s offshore oil operations would eventually be provided by Trinidadian companies that would be setting up operations in Guyana.

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  • Clyde Duncan  On 10/17/2019 at 12:37 am

  • Trevor  On 10/17/2019 at 8:18 pm

    How many Guyanese or Jamaicans can set up business in Trinidad?

  • Quenton Dokken  On 10/18/2019 at 10:54 am

    I would like to add a caution to any claims that the supermajors (e.g. ExxonMobil) will rigorously guard the environment out of concern for public opinion. To a degree this is true, the major and supermajor oil/gas producers are very sensitive to public opinion, in no small part due to the impact of public opinion on stock prices. Still, catastrophic events happen, e.g. BP’s Macondo Spill; and spills will happen on Guyana territories, during drilling, production, and transport. The question is, “How will the spill owner respond?” And, “Does the spill owner have the financial strength to respond?” BP spent $60 billion in response to the Macondo Spill. How can Guyana ensure that all operators off Guyana can respond similarly when a spill does occur? Or are the government and people of Guyana willing to assume the environmental and economic costs while the spill owner sails off into the sunset?

    • Trevor  On 10/18/2019 at 5:02 pm

      The contract states that Exxon-Mobil doesn’t have to hold liability for oil spills!

      It’s like how the ABC countries use temporary job agencies to get away from liability for workplace injuries!

      I’m sure that Exxon is using a Cayman Islands company to use as a straw man company.

  • Nat Khublall  On 10/24/2019 at 5:56 pm

    The Guyanese official who has agreed to accept that ExxonMobil would not be liable liable for oil spills needs his head examined. How could he have agreed to absolve ExonMobil from such liability? . Dr Nat Khublall (Barrister)

    • Emanuel  On 10/24/2019 at 10:36 pm


      If ExxonMobil is off the hook in the highly likely event of a spill, then Guyana is screwed. I’d mean that the small percentage of oil revenues apportioned to Guyana will be spent for the clean up. I fully agree that anyone agreeing to absolve the US giant of any such responsibility is a fool.

    • Trevor  On 10/26/2019 at 10:32 am

      Parent companies accept oil spill liabilities for subsidiaries–EPA Head

      Oct 20, 2019 News 0 Comments

      As exploration and development activities continue to increase offshore Guyana, Head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr. Vincent Adams has assured that all oil spill liabilities would be covered by the polluters.

      EPA Head, Dr. Vincent Adams

      Dr. Adams noted that the oil companies have environmental permits with provisions which note that all costs for incidents that cannot be handled or covered by the insurance of the subsidiaries would be completely taken care of by the parent companies.
      The EPA Head said, “As you are aware, the Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) we signed are with the limited liability companies, not the parents. Those subsidiaries don’t have a lot of assets. So what we did was to ensure that in the permits, we got the parent companies to agree that they will pick up any costs that are not covered by the subsidiaries.”
      Dr. Adams added, “We are working out other details. Remember there are three companies in the Stabroek Block– Exxon’s subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), Hess Guyana and CNOOC/NEXEN Guyana.
      “They will work out who will deal with what percentage of an incident and get back to us with that.”
      ExxonMobil’s Public and Government Affairs Advisor, Janelle Persaud, confirmed that the company has insurance in place for all activities in the Stabroek Block. The insurance is either consistent with or exceeds global industry standards.
      The name of the insurance company that was used and the amount of the insurance secured were not provided to Kaieteur News. Persaud said that Exxon does not discuss specific policies and amounts publically.

  • Lennox Sirjuesingh  On 11/24/2019 at 11:37 am

    Safety and Local Content are two major considerations to be established in Guyana at the outset. Objective thinking is also required, with evaluation of the delivery being flawless and subject to scrutiny.
    Standards cannot be ignored or compromised where safety is concerned. The concept of the “moving goal post” , being used by International Oil Companies to keep out Nationals under the pretext of not being duly qualified, is also an area of concern.
    As for Local Content, the capacity and capabilities of the locals must be realistic in making demands. The monitoring, evaluation, reporting and compliance are necessary to ensure the country benefits fully from it’s resources.

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