More locals needed in oil & gas workforce – Min Bharrat

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat

The Guyana Government is not satisfied with the number of locals presently employed in the oil and gas sector, considering the rapid development of the country’s economy.

Currently, some 6000 locals are actively contributing to the sector’s growth, which represents almost 70 per cent of the total workforce and a 24 per cent increase in Guyanese hired. Of the 6000 locals, over 900 Guyanese are employed as plant and machine operators; 1,203 as professionals, including accountants, lawyers, and engineers; and another 485 as technicians.

During a recent appearance on the Guyana Dialogue programme, Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat pointed out that Guyana is producing a total of 645,000 barrels of oil per day, and this number is projected to increase to 1.3 million barrels by 2027. As such, he believes that the number of locals in the sector must complement Guyana’s oil and gas operations.

“6000 is quite significant, but we are not satisfied. We’re working right now to build out the Guyana Technical Training College in Port Mourant in Berbice, to ensure that we train more of our people so that they can be employed directly in the sector,” Minister Bharrat has said.

Further, he said Government has been in talks with oil companies to offer scholarships to Guyanese, so they can develop their knowledge of the industry.

Another announcement made by the minister is that the Government would be moving to conduct local content sensitisation workshops around the country. This is to ensure that more people are familiar with the opportunities in the sector.

Meanwhile, he disclosed that the Local Content Legislation has facilitated numerous partnerships between local and foreign companies, encouraging collaboration in the emerging petroleum industry. Notable alliances include joint ventures and partnerships that would be providing shore base facilities, offshore support vessel services, offshore helicopter services, offshore catering services, machining and fabrication services, and hazardous waste management.

These partnerships comply with the Local Content Act, as well as contribute to business expansion, capacity development, and knowledge sharing within the country’s oil and gas industry.

In 2024, a local company will, for the first time, be providing specialised subsea services through a joint venture with a Norwegian company. Other initiatives that are onstream for 2024 include a paid partnership programme with the 45 Tier One contractors, targeting 100 paid internships and the development of an enhanced digital platform to allow immediate notification of employment opportunities.

According to Bharrat, more public-private partnerships like the ones aforementioned can play an integral role in ramping up Guyanese local oil and gas employment numbers. He noted that Government is willing to work with companies that have innovative ideas that would contribute to the development of the economy.

“We need to work with every single stakeholder, once they are serious of the development and once they want to work with us in developing Guyana…,” the minister said.

“Today we see apartment buildings in almost every single community in Guyana, mainly because we put tremendous business opportunities for the private sector; which they are taking advantage of, but I think they can do much more working together in partnership and joint ventures with local and foreign investors,” Minister Bharrat explained.

As Guyana continues to experience unprecedented growth, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government is looking to push for increased involvement of the local private sector as well as the diaspora in the expansion of the country’s economy.

Earlier in the year, President Dr Irfaan Ali indicated that Government was currently working on several initiatives to help propel various sectors, including forestry, insurance, construction and agriculture, among others. He disclosed that soon the Government would be rolling out specific ways in which the private sector could tap into the available opportunities.

According to the Guyanese Leader, his Administration is building a country that would have macroeconomic stability, resilience and sustainability – all of which would ensure continuous growth and development. According to President Ali, the key to building Guyana as one of the strongest economies in the world was the capability of the Guyanese people – which he strongly believes in.