September 15, 2023
Navigating Guyana’s Oil and Gas Odyssey: Infrastructure and Sustainability
The GBJ and CPC’s recent webinar, “Transforming Guyana, Season II, Episode IV: Infrastructure Development and the Emerging Guyanese Oil and Gas Economy,” brought together a panel of distinguished speakers, each offering unique insights into the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for Guyana. As we delve into the wealth of wisdom shared by Arthur Deakin, Terrence Blackman, David Lewis, and David Patterson, it becomes evident that Guyana’s journey toward harnessing its oil and gas potential is not without its complexities.
Arthur Deakin, Co-director at Americas Market Intelligence, succinctly encapsulated Guyana’s burgeoning status within the oil and gas industry. He stated, “Guyana is the fastest-growing new oil province in the last decade, by far.” This meteoric rise is undoubtedly a cause for celebration but also demands a vigilant approach to sustainability. Deakin highlighted the importance of allocating a percentage of the National Resource Fund (NRF) to climate resilience and adaptation efforts, emphasizing the need for a legal mandate to balance fossil fuel production with a low-carbon strategy. He also underscored Guyana’s unique opportunity to monetize carbon credits and offsets from its expansive forest coverage, making it a potential leader in Latin America’s environmental efforts.
Regarding sustainability, Dr. Terrence Blackman, Founder of the Guyana Business Journal, emphasized the urgency of addressing electricity issues. He articulated, “You have to do something concrete about electricity quickly, cheaply, and now to sustain immigration and all other things being discussed.” This call to action underscores the symbiotic relationship between infrastructure development and population growth driven by the burgeoning industry. Indeed, the industry is propelling Guyana into the future.
Dr. David Lewis, Vice President of Manchester Trade Ltd. Inc. and Co-Chair of the Caribbean Policy Consortium, painted a picture of Guyana’s potential as he envisioned a future where the nation boasts the “most efficient, diverse, and modern utility in the world.” He challenged Guyana to rise to the occasion and efficiently manage the benefits of its newfound wealth, acknowledging the unprecedented nature of its engagement with global energy giant Exxon. Lewis also stressed the significance of human resources in this transformation, highlighting the need to attract talent from various sectors to compensate for decades of ‘brain drain.’
Lastly, Honorable David Patterson, Shadow Minister for Oil & Gas and Former Minister of Infrastructure in Guyana, emphasized the importance of a comprehensive infrastructure plan. He noted, “With an overall infrastructure plan, our investors and potential partners can have a birds-eye view of the landscape, allowing them to make informed decisions.” However, he acknowledged the inherent challenges in reconciling Guyana’s aspiration to be an environmentally conscious, ‘green’ country with its role as an emerging oil and gas producer.
The webinar illuminated the intricate web of opportunities and dilemmas facing Guyana after its oil and gas boom. As it strides forward on this transformative journey, Guyana must strike a delicate balance between economic development and environmental responsibility while harnessing the power of its people and infrastructure to shape a prosperous future. In the words of David Lewis, “Guyana is a work in progress,” and it is a nation poised to write a compelling narrative of growth, sustainability, and prosperity.
- David Patterson, Former Minister of Infrastructure, Guyana
- Arthur Deakin, Co-director at Americas Market Intelligence
- Terrence Blackman, Founder, Guyana Business Journal
- David Lewis, Vice President, Manchester Trade Ltd. Inc. & Co-Chair, Caribbean Policy Consortium
- “Guyana is the fastest-growing new oil province in the last decade, by far.”
- “I think there is an opportunity to allocate a percentage of the NRF to climate resilience and climate adaptation works. I think if that’s mandated by law, that would be a very important step towards balancing this fossil fuel production with a low-carbon strategy.”
- “There’s a lot of carbon credits and offsets from Guyana’s forest coverage that can be monetized. [Guyana] is the country with the largest forest coverage in Latin America, behind maybe Suriname.”
- “There’s still a question mark on how much gas there actually is in the Stabroek block, and that can definitely impact Guyana’s to develop a downstream industry. But the initial plans for gas-to-shore, there’s not enough gas for those industries.”
- “You have to do something concrete about electricity quickly, cheaply and now in order to sustain immigration and all other things being discussed.”
- “In a sense, we have the industry pulling the country into the future.”
- “There is no reason that within the next two, three years, Guyana should not have the most efficient, diverse and modern utility in the world…It is there, it can be done.”
- “Guyana is work in progress. It’s work in progress because Guyana has been blessed, and cursed at the same time, to have to manage the benefits of this largess and the engagement with one of the top 10 global organizations [Exxon] that has ever existed without any real preparation to do that before.”
- “The issue of human resources is critical…People are realizing that bringing people in from different categories where we have a deficit in Guyana is a plus to a country that has suffered from ‘brain drain’ for decades.”
- “With an overall infrastructure plan, our investors and potential partners can have a birds-eye view of the landscape allowing them to make informed decisions.”
- “We haven’t made the linkage and definitions between where we originally wanted to be – a totally nice, green country – and that of an oil and gas producing country. There are conflicts.”
Terrence Blackman, Ph.D., Founder & CEO Guyana Business Journal email@example.com