Minister of Natural Resources Withdraws From GIPEX 2021, citing ‘Anti-Local Content’ Sentiment
May 28th, 2021 – Georgetown, Guyana – as the realities of Guyana’s position as an economy attracting international interest and investment become clear, Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat makes a bold statement by withdrawing government participation in the Guyana International Petroleum Business Summit and Exhibition (GIPEX) 2021.
The government’s position has evolved from a prior communication in which Bharrat commented on a principal focus for the event: the advancement of local content.
“The government will not participate in any conference/seminar now,” Bharrat said in an invited comment.
The President of the Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chamber (GOGEC), Manniram Prashad, issued a statement earlier this month;
“Participating companies are required to sponsor or attend at exorbitant prices and all these monies are taken out of the local economy. [... The] bulk of the profits goes out of Guyana with little or no benefit to Guyanese,” Prashad continued.
The inaugural GIPEX conference was hosted in Guyana in 2018, led by UK-based company Valiant Business Media. The government of Guyana initially collaborated with Valiant for the conference. With Covid-19 driving 2021’s event into a digital forum, concerns that the format excludes local businesses have been raised. GIPEX, whilst historically an opportunity for all stakeholders, both local and international, to network and develop opportunities, has increasingly come under question as to why a UK-based media company has been the driving force behind Guyana’s leading industry conference.
“The action taken here by the government is appropriate”, commented TOTALTEC CEO Lars Mangal. “This is a good reminder that despite all the excellent work on local content, there will always be situations where there is a clear opportunity for Guyanese companies to step up. As a local industry and government, we need to always identify those and act on them.”
Guyana faces a unique challenge: developing a local content policy at a pace that matches the development (largely driven by international players) of the energy sector, in a country where 71% of the workforce lives in rural areas, and only 1% of the workforce are employed in professional, scientific or technical services.
Mangal continued, “When the discovery of oil occurred in 2015, it was only natural for the pace of offshore development to outstrip the pace of local content. It seems hard to believe it was 6 years ago. Withdrawing from GIPEX has created an opportunity for an international energy industry event held in-country to be Guyanese owned. It’s time.”
TOTALTEC is focused on the success of the energy industry in Guyana and Surname for the benefit these countries, their people, and partner companies. It does this through three areas: people, partnerships, and facilities. Qualified and motivated indigenous people develop through the International Petroleum & Maritime Academy. Partnerships prioritize products and services that are starting points to grow from, creating new locally led companies. Examples are Guyana Shore Base, Inc. providing support to offshore operations and Jaguar Oilfield Services offering a complete range of lifting equipment and inspection services. The 94% Guyanese TOTALTEC workforce includes 8 nationalities with over 160 years of international oilfield experience.https://www.totaltec-os.com