— that want to capitalise on offshore opportunities
THE Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) of the Ministry of Public Works has joined forces with the Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chamber to encourage and support the efforts of local businesses that want to capitalise on the many offshore opportunities that are being created within the rapidly emerging oil and gas sector.
On Thursday, the Chamber’s President, Manniram Prashad and Director-General of MARAD, Stephen Thomas, inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further solidify the partnership.
In accordance with the MoU, the chamber’s is responsible for ensuring that “there are equal opportunities for all the operators and potential operators within the oil and gas industry and promote trade, investment and knowledge transfer within the energy sector to all members and stakeholders.”
As for MARAD, the agency would be tasked with “providing the maritime industry with the necessary support services, and infrastructure necessary to ensure safety of navigation in Guyana waters”.
Speaking briefly with the Guyana Chronicle, MARAD’s Director-General, Stephan Thomas said that the MoU can be seen as a clear indication that the agency is willing, able and eager to support local companies that are seeking a place, and a means of capitalising on the opportunities that continue to emerge from offshore.
“Our main aim is to let persons know that we are supportive of the efforts of the private sector to develop the offshore oil and gas industry,” Thomas related.
He said that the MoU also reiterated the role of MARAD in monitoring, regulating, and coordinating maritime activities throughout Guyana.
“That’s paramount in anything that we do,” Thomas told this newspaper.
He is hopeful that the signing of the MoU would enable local companies to “feel free to communicate” and partner with MARAD in taking Guyana forward. “We are not only to regulate, but we are also here to facilitate,” Thomas posited.
The MARD was established by the Guyana Shipping Act (Act No.7 of 1998) with its office located on Battery Road, Georgetown, Guyana, while the Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chamber (GOGEC) is a private grouping established in 2017 when Guyana’s lucrative oil and gas sector was blossoming as an important player in the Guyanese economy.
The organisation, with a membership of 20, seeks to unify the local players of the industry to ensure that they all speak with a collective voice to address any anomalies that may arise in the industry.
“Our intention is to ensure that we educate all Guyanese about this new industry by hosting several seminars, trade missions, and expositions throughout the entire country. We also planned to conduct regional and international symposiums to attract investors to fill the gap in those areas where there are opportunities,” the chamber’s website indicated.
The organisation has also been vocal in its push for a healthy Local Content Policy for the petroleum industry. So far, the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) government has committed to ensuring that Guyanese remain critical players of the oil and gas sector. As it is, a number of specific sectors have been reserved for just Guyanese.
It is hoped that the aforementioned MoU would motivate more local companies to seek investments in the ongoing offshore activities.