Building capacity
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Pricilla Moore (left) with Sean Henry at the press briefing
Pricilla Moore (left) with Sean Henry at the press briefing

— Ground Structures Engineering training young Guyanese for oil-and-gas sector

IN a perfect example of how a business can expand its scope to cater for a new and potentially favourable economic sector, Ground Structures Engineering Consultants Inc (GSECI) has now entered the realm of soil-testing, which is necessary for petroleum exploration.

In addition to expanding into a new area of petroleum-related, geotechnical services, it is also a demonstration of how young Guyanese professionals can rise to the occasion and make their contribution.

At a press conference last Thursday held on the sidelines of the Guyana International Petroleum Business Summit (GIPEX 2018), two of GSECI’s officials – Sean Henry, a civil engineer and Pricilla Moore, a geological engineer — spoke to members of the media regarding their foray into the oil-and-gas sector.

It was early in 2017 when the partnership was announced between Dutch engineering company Fugro and GSECI for capacity-building in the provision of petroleum-related geological services.

Moore said that prior to working in oil and gas, her previous experience was in the mining industry for gold and diamonds.
However, she said that she had some exposure to petroleum-related matters as she was chosen for a short scholarship joint programme between the University of Guyana and Texas Tech University.

She said while the geotechnical aspect is related to mining, it is still somewhat new to her.
“I expect to gain more experience in it and maybe sometime pursue a Masters in Geotechnical Engineering,” Moore, who recently returned from training in New Jersey, USA, said.

Henry said currently the company has three persons at the University of Guyana who are pursuing studies in Civil Engineering and Biology. There are also seven young laboratory technicians who are in line to be trained as soil technicians and will be given exposure in Trinidad and in Houston, Texas, USA, where they will see first-hand what the expectations of the industry are. Following this, they will be given the opportunity to be trained offshore before functioning on their own.

Henry said that through Fugro, one of the young persons is working with PEMEX, the Mexican National Oil Company, in the Gulf of Mexico. Henry himself will soon be heading to Massachusetts, USA, for training. “With this arrangement, there will be a need for more soil technicians,” he said.
According to Henry, everyone gets the chance to learn of the processes involved in petroleum-related geotechnical engineering.

“In that respect, everybody knows what their responsibilities are,” he said, adding that working with a first-world company such as Fugro raised their awareness about the required work culture and work ethic.
Henry stated that GSECI always give young professions a chance to work with the company, not only in its oil-and-gas-related work, but also in environmental management.
“[Our Environmental Department] is currently staffed by four recent graduates of the University of Guyana in Biology, along with two mentors who are experienced in environmental compliance and biodiversity,” he said.

GSECI is working along with companies such as oil-and-gas support services giant Schlumberger, the Guyana Shore Base Inc and others. “Out of this forum (GIPEX 2018), we were able to meet different players within the industry and they can request our services, which may see an expansion in our business that we do here,” he said.

A Fugro press release in March, 2017, said that Fugro is fulfilling its commitment to supporting local content by working with agencies in Guyana. It said that as part of this new working relationship, “Fugro will provide onsite training at its state-of-the-art accredited laboratory in Houston, Texas, USA, to cross-train soil technicians to meet industry standards.”

Fugro is also providing essential offshore experience to GSECI’s certified soil technicians, who will support a geotechnical campaign that Esso Exploration and Production, Guyana Limited awarded to Fugro recently.

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