7 June, 2019 – Georgetown, Guyana – Global interest in Guyana continues to increase as first oil approaches. The BBC Global Business Podcast is the latest to feature Guyana, in a 30-minute piece that speaks to a wide range of stakeholders. There is great hope from many – the impact of oil cash has the potential to have a revolutionary impact on life in Guyana, and there is a real sense of anticipation.
One interviewee, George Mohamed, says, “it took me almost 6 months to find a suitable job here in Guyana. Brought a very big relief to me and my family also.” George was recently hired by TOTALTEC Oilfield Services after being laid off from his previous role in the sugar production industry.
Over the road, 40-year-old Dwane Goodman used to work in construction, and now works at Guyana Shore Base Inc. (GYSBI).
“Since I started working at GYSBI, my whole life has changed. My children could not get anything they wanted. Now everything has changed, they’re going to school with snacks in their bag, […], shoes on their feet, it’s a really nice time now. My physical, mental, everything has developed instantly.”
There are challenges ahead for the young oil industry, specifically around developing a local culture of safety. Safety is a non-negotiable element of culture in the oil & gas industry. In Guyana, local workers new to the industry are having to undergo a cultural shift to adopt the safety-mentality of the industry – from ensuring the correct wearing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), to assessing the risks for any job before beginning. According to those training to enter the industry, it is a culture shift that is good for the country.
Developing local content remains a priority, and at both TOTALTEC and GYSBI, where the workforce is over 90% Guyanese. The remaining workforce is comprised of expats with long industry experience. The impact of the international oil & gas community is felt in many aspects of Guyanese life, including the Amazon Warriors, Guyana’s national cricket team, now sponsored by ExxonMobil.
Alongside the growing sense of anticipation at the opportunity ahead for Guyana, there is a tempering sense of caution. Vincent Adams has recently taken over the Environmental Protection Agency in Guyana. With over 30 years’ experience at US Department of Energy, Adams came to Guyana last October. Their department is under-resourced;
“… this thing came so suddenly; we’re drinking from a firehose. But, we’re moving very aggressively … we’re doing whatever we can to make sure we get there as fast as possible.”
Raymond Gaskin has played a role challenging the governments production share agreement with ExxonMobil. And yet even he shares the anticipation felt by many;
“We’re all anxious for first oil, the whole country is expecting a lot from first oil”.
The benefits of oil are already being felt – local businesses are profiting from the influx of people that have come from around the world to pay attention to Guyana. Across town, the Pegasus Hotel is currently 130 rooms. There are plans in place to build two additional buildings. One 12 stories high (100,000 sq. ft. of long term accommodation) and a second building 7 stories high (200,000 sq. ft. of corporate office space). The site will have a gym, pool, restaurants, tea shops, condo’s and offices, combining living and working in a 21st century development that will radically change Georgetown’s skyline.
Mostly, there is hope, even if that is tempered by caution. The promised oil wealth offers the potential for a genuinely positive transformational effect on Guyana.
Back at TOTALTEC, a new recruit is overheard;
“this here is a dream come true for us in Guyana. We’re going to be probably the next Dubai. I’m excited. I have a bright future, and the country has a good future ahead of it.”
Listen to the full podcast here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w3csy81f
TOTALTEC Oilfield Services is focused on the success of the oil industry in Guyana for the benefit the country, its people, and partner companies. It does this through three areas: people, partnerships, and facilities. Qualified and motivated Guyanese develop through the Academy. Partnerships prioritize products and services that are starting points to grow from, in effectively introduce companies new to Guyana. The Guyana Shore Base facility is now supporting offshore operations.
The 94% Guyanese TOTALTEC workforce includes 8 nationalities with over 160 years of international oilfield experience. https://www.totaltec-os.com