Companies relocate operations to Guyana as opportunities grow
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WITH Guyana’s offshore oil production rapidly growing, a flood of companies that service the industry are also moving their activities to the country. At this point, many of the largest global oil and gas service companies have some sort of presence in Guyana, and many of the exploration and production companies offshore are moving their own internal support staff and infrastructure from places like Trinidad and Tobago.

ExxonMobil Guyana’s president, Alistair Routledge, recently stated that the company has relocated nearly all of its support services and its supply chain services hub from Trinidad and Tobago to Guyana to support the growing market. The move has already created new jobs for Guyanese and will continue to do so as the company’s operations expand, according to Routledge. Support services from Brazil are being relocated as well.

The relocation will bring ExxonMobil’s total investment in Guyana to an estimated US$30 billion. Routledge also announced that the company is planning to invest in an onshore logistics hub in Guyana to support its offshore exploration and production activities. Most of the jobs in oil and gas ultimately come from these kinds of support services since the actual production process requires relatively little labour.

Last week SBM Offshore, an oil and gas service company focused on building and supporting equipment for offshore operations, held an event in Georgetown celebrating its five-year anniversary of operating in Guyana. SBM was contracted to build Guyana’s four floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels, which will service the lucrative Liza, Payara, and Yellowtail fields.

Other major oil service providers like Saipem, which offers technological and engineering services, are also turning to locals to staff teams for assembly, testing, coating, and loading of massive subsea jumpers—work that was previously done in Trinidad.

Other service companies, like TechnipFMC and Schlumberger, have moved existing or opened new operations in Guyana and are training new employees to satisfy needs of the Liza Phase 2 and Payara developments. These relocations are a highly positive sign for Guyana’s rapidly growing capacity to service the industry and an indication that international companies see strong potential in the developing labour force here.

As investment continues to grow, support services can pave the way for more opportunities in Guyana’s domestic private sector, including the construction of new shore bases, warehousing, and waste treatment facilities. The development of these local services are set to significantly transform Guyana’s economy. Since 2015, Guyana’s growing oil and gas sector has provided jobs for 3,200 Guyanese and international companies have worked with more than 800 local suppliers for various goods and services, and hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent in the domestic economy.

With heightened focus on and additional capabilities located in Guyana, the country is beginning to serve as a hub for the region in oil and gas.

Even though the formal local content policy is not yet place, Guyana has already built up significant local capacity. According to the Centre for Local Business Development (CLBD), which opened in 2017 to help local businesses build expertise and capacity to service the oil and gas sector, there has been a 200 percent increase in the number of firms using these services. The CLBD estimates that it has registered about 3,000 local businesses that are now working together and investing in opportunities presented by the oil and gas industry. The Centre is also expanding programmes to bring in experts from organisations like the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association to help advise local companies and form partnerships.

Several other training programmes are already in place to ensure that trainees have the education needed to service oil and gas infrastructure safely and effectively. The University of Guyana’s Institute for Energy Diplomacy has focused on educating, training, and preparing Guyanese for the oil and gas sector and provides courses specifically focused on energy industry development.

Despite the local content bill only just being introduced in the National Assembly, Guyana has successfully started to build up its capabilities and provide the expertise needed to satisfy growing demand for workers.

As the government works to approve its local content bill, it will be important to account for the great progress the country has already made in this area. Continued growth in the sector, and especially as more companies move to Guyana, will support the organic development of Guyana’s capabilities.

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