UK-Guyana Chamber of Commerce in the making

British High Commissioner Greg Quinn

BRITISH High Commissioner Greg Quinn said there are increasing discussions on the establishment of a UK-Guyana Chamber of Commerce. The discussions are taking place at a time when Guyana is well positioned to become an economic powerhouse in the Caribbean in light of its massive oil discoveries.

More than four billion oil-equivalent barrels have been discovered in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana as the country puts the gears up to kick start oil production in 2020.
During a press conference at his Bel Air Gardens residence on Friday, the British High Commissioner said that over the last three years there has been a significant increase in the number of UK businesses operating in Guyana as he alluded to Stena Drilling – a UK-based-company that conducts drilling operations offshore Guyana for US oil giant – ExxonMobil; and Noble Corp., which has its drillship ‘Noble Bob Douglas’ operating offshore Guyana for ExxonMobil as well.

He said there is a major interest in Guyana’s budding oil and gas industry, given the UK’s experience in the petroleum industry at Aberdeen.

Known as the oil capital of Europe, Aberdeen over the last 40 years has re-invented itself from a provincial regional centre dependent on agriculture and tourism to become the centre of the UK’s national oil and gas exploration and production activities.
In 2015, the UK oil and gas industry produced an average of 0.9 million barrels of oil equivalent every day. Over the last 40 years, the UK has produced nearly 43 billion barrels of oil and gas and still has substantial potential.

But while there is growing interest in Guyana’s oil and gas industry, the British High Commissioner said other areas are also of considerable interest.

“I think that our services industry is the single biggest contributor to the UK economy. We are no longer the manufacturing economy we once were, we are a services economy,” High Commissioner Quinn said while noting that there can be an exchange in knowledge and experience in this regard.

Ahead of the proposed establishment of the UK-Guyana Chamber, which is in its embryonic stage, a trade mission will be in Guyana come January as British companies seek to build and strengthen ties here.

“We are looking at the possibility of increasing links between here and the UK,” the British High Commissioner said.

It was noted that while the Private Sector Commission (PSC), the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) have all been creating linkages in the UK with support from Guyana’s High Commission in London, greater effort should be made to have Guyanese companies and businesses operate in the UK.

“There are British companies coming here, [and it] would be good to see some of the companies here going the other direction, and the private sector here understands that,” he posited.

The disclosure of the possible establishment of a UK-Guyana Chamber of Commerce comes approximately one year after President David Granger told the British that Guyana, for long-term development, has the most exciting investment prospects in the Caribbean. At the time, he was delivering remarks during an investment seminar organised by the Caribbean Council in London.

It also comes days after American Chamber of Commerce of Guyana (AMCHAM Guyana)–a voluntary association aimed at promoting trade and business between the United States of America (USA) and Guyana– was launched here.

AMCHAM, while offering businesses and entrepreneurs the opportunity to network, make new contacts and transfer knowledge, will provide a platform for business, resource and advocacy support as well as a medium for community involvement and social corporate responsibility.

The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has established three trade councils to facilitate business among Cuba, India and Canada.