Guyana is open for good business

Honourable Prime Minister and First Vice-President Moses Nagamootoo; Honourable Ministers, Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland, Members of the National Assembly, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Heads of Ministries, Departments, Agencies, special invitees, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen:

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It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to this our Second Annual Guyana International Petroleum Business Summit and Exhibition more popularly known as GIPEX-2019.

Together with our sponsors and collaborators, we are delighted to be hosting this event at this very exciting time in Guyana’s history with the imminence of first oil. We are particularly grateful to ExxonMobil, our strategic partner, and our sponsors for supporting this Summit and Exhibition. With your commitment and participation, it gives us a phenomenal opportunity to demonstrate the catalytic importance of the new and emerging oil and gas industry in Guyana (through rent capture, knowledge transfers and technological advances) to bring about transformative development, inclusive of the country transitioning to safer, more affordable, reliable, sustainable and newer forms of energy. The importance of this cannot be over-emphasized given the intense efforts for global decarbonisation.

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Concurrently, the industry is being challenged to use its resources—in particular its technical expertise and knowledge—to develop creative solutions for providing better access to energy and opportunities for renewable energy transitioning. As such, this Summit is both appropriate and timely, for Guyana, as one of the newest entries into the industry, must remain cognizant of developments occurring therein.

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With industry standards necessitating that the petroleum industry adopt corporate social responsibility (CSR) as part of its business model to address the social challenges of its host communities, an opportunity is provided here in Guyana for an increased focus in addressing all forms and scale of energy in consonance with the country’s Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) Vision 2040. We all need to work together to reduce our carbon footprint, inclusive of utilizing such techniques as carbon capture, utilization and storage, minimizing methane emissions during the production process of natural gas, and following extraction methods that are environmentally sustainable, socially palatable and economically viable.

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But these must, also, be accompanied by efficiency improvements in the production and output of energy. In this case, technology development remains key as Guyana continues to look for best practices in the industry even as it builds out its own regulatory framework.

Technological advancement remains one of the fundamental levers to unleash the potential of innovation to make the use of oil and gas ultra clean and minimize emissions. As many of you can attest, innovation in this industry is a game-changer. Advanced technologies are key to resolving the paradox of providing more energy, while curbing emissions. For example, digital technology is now helping us use energy more efficiently in oil and gas, with super-fast processing, data lakes, real-time feeds and predictive software to maximize production and minimize downtime. Technology is also driving down cost and accelerating the use of renewable energy.

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For us in Guyana, today marks the continuation of a journey where we learn to look through the eyes of others; to continue our shared experiences; and to extend a hand of friendship while simultaneously seeking like-minded partners. For the first time, Guyana has an opportunity for true self-determination.

This self-determination is being driven by a clearly defined Green State Agenda; a soon to be completed revised legislative framework for the sector; a contextually relevant and appropriate local content policy; a new product sharing contract template; completion of 2D and 3D seismic surveys for better decision making with regards to remaining blocks and unallocated areas offshore; completion of a Natural Resource Fund framework, completing the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan, and building the capacity at all levels along the value chain, particularly amongst our young people and those in the technical, vocational education and training institutions. A people-centred approach remains our modus operandi for realizing our development ambitions. Our peoples remain our most treasured resource!

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It is within this context therefore, that the Department remains committed to promoting businesses that are aligned with our national development strategy and aspirations, are of a strategic nature, and respect our laws. Our goal is for no regrets investments. As a Department, we seek to encourage increased local content and job opportunities that will allow our people to participate fully and accessing good quality jobs. We seek for partnerships and not just associations of convenience. We seek for development in consonance with our rich biodiversity and supporting pillars of our economy. In short, we are welcoming, but also determined in where we as a country want to go.

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The Department will continue to work assiduously and conscientiously to provide certainty and predictability in our operations, enhance efficiencies and encourage fairness. We are constantly working to level the proverbial playing field.

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We, as a nation, are conscious that the opportunities presented by the nascent oil and gas industry must be grasped if we are to truly benefit. We aim to be laser like in our focus, determined and willing to avoid going for quick wins that are unsustainable.

We know that development can be difficult, but we believe in our people, our most precision resource. We believe in our leadership; we believe in our future; and yes, I believe in My God.

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As one writer said, “the race to excellence has no finish line”. Let us continue to aspire for greatness and do it with the consciousness that we are on this journey together.

I welcome you and I wish you all a very productive summit.

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I thank you.

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