Guyana Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo: Local Private Sector called on to step up game, seek partnerships

  • Kiana Wilburg
  • May 26, 2024
  • Articles

The upcoming Guyana Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo will place spotlight on the grand scale of opportunities available for investment in the country’s blossoming economy, to which the local Private Sector has been urged to step up their game and seek partnerships. The third edition of the exposition is slated for February 19-22, 2024 under the theme: Fuelling Transformation and Modernization. During a media briefing on Monday, Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat recognised that Guyana is one of two hotspots for investment globally, but it has an advantage over Namibia in Africa, which is now moving towards production. By February, Guyana will be producing a massive 600,000 barrels of oil per day, and with increased production comes increased opportunities, and with this ramped-up generation comes a new wave of economic openings. “At the last energy conference, we were 380,000 to 390,000 barrels per day. A lot has happened from the last conference to this one, and increase in production definitely spells opportunities; opportunities throughout the value chain, opportunities for Private Sector and the provision of goods and services.” Consequently, the Ministers stressed that it is important for the local Private Sector to use this platform as one to engage, network, and build partnerships. Local businesses were also versed that after the Local Content Act was finalised, several joint ventures have been created, and new investors are seeking partnerships, since schedule One of the frameworks can be amended at any time.

“Even though our Schedule One in the Local Content Legislation is limited to 40 carved out services, today it might be very different. What we have noticed is that almost every single investor coming to invest is now looking for a local partner, regardless if the service is in Schedule One or not. They’re still looking for a local partner, because that schedule can be amended at any point in time…At any point in time, we can add services to that schedule, we can increase targets to the existing schedule. So, investors coming to Guyana fully aware of that, and because of that Act, fact we have seen massive development in our local Private Sector,” the Minister explained. Further reiterating that Guyana’s buildout is not only focused on oil and gas, Bharrat relayed Government’s intention to attract investments in all sectors, and in so doing, there will be room for everyone to participate. The oil and gas industry is being seen as a medium to energize other sectors, where resources can be funnelled to create a robust and sustainable economy. “We don’t want to be seen as an oil-based economy, even though some people may look at us as a new kid on the block in terms of production. We want to showcase, and we want to bring in investment in all sectors. We are not going to make the same mistake like many countries by revenue as soon as we start flowing.” Additionally, Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest), Dr Peter Ramsaroop, sounded the call for local businesses to take advantage of the budding opportunities, but in doing so, they must step up their game. Some 200 exhibitors are expected for this year, spanning 21 countries. He expounded, “When you think of Guyana as a powerhouse, and you look at the type of visitors that will be in our country, I would advise our local Private Sector to really take the advantage. These folks are here looking to make money, and we don’t have a problem with that, but our Private Sector needs to understand that they have to step up their game. Look for the right partnership, participate, and demonstrate our capacity and capability.” Attention is already set on the larger investment from 2025 to 2030, and how the economy can be diversified, Ramsaroop added. The GO-Invest Head pointed out, “If you think of these folks coming in the country looking at oil and gas, realizing we’ve got the best silica sand in the world, we can be building the solar panels. Bauxite can go to aluminium, or we can have a gold refinery. These sounded far-fetched five years ago, but now they’re becoming a reality.” Meanwhile, Private Sector Commission (PSC) Chairman Komal Singh has already asserted their readiness to participate fully, noting that just over the last two years, billions have been invested by private stakeholders. Singh reported, “The Private Sector is very excited to be part of it, and we want to emphasize the importance of when you here to work with our Private Sector, to work with businesses locally. We want to create that platform where we can collaborate and create partnerships with companies that have the right technical expertise, the capital to support these investments.” Thus far, some 19 different sectors are participating, with a focus on growth, sustainability and diversification. To ensure a balance in these industries would mean that traditional sectors need to keep up with the pace of development. The conference will touch on shaping the future of energy; trends and best practices; the oil and gas value chain; emerging technologies to shape the energy landscape; building resilient supply chains in the face of disasters; and collaboration strategies for emerging economies, among other things. Chief Executive Officer Kurt Baboolall outlined, “The theme connects the other industries, because without infrastructure, how can persons move their products along the roadway? We look at agriculture, farm-to-market roads, so the energy sector does not operate within a silo, and there is a correlation for other sectors here. If they cannot corelate in terms of progess or increase, then you will see the energy sector stifling. Several high-level officials are slated to attend, namely: Prime Minister of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani; former Colombian President Ivan Duque; Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader; Surinamese President Chandrikapersad Santokhi; Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Edward Davis; Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley; and Caricom Secretary-General Dr Carla Barnett.