Exxon will provide updated Local Content Plan every year

Oil sector

– says Govt Affairs Director

By Jarryl Bryan

Oil giants ExxonMobil are providing assurances that the Local Content Plan they submit by year-end will not be the summation of their corporate responsibility towards the development of Guyanese. Company executives have said there rather is an intention to, on an annual basis, provide an updated plan in regard to Local Content as the sector evolves.
According to the Senior Director of Exxon’s Public and Government Affairs, Kimberly Brasington, the Local Content Plan would be an ambitious one that would include plans to develop the local business enterprises which will have to supply Exxon’s operations with essential goods and services.
“Our Local Content Plan will include both plans for supplier development and plans for workforce development,” she related in an interview with this publication. “The plan will (also) include the metrics of Guyanese content in the project to date,” she explained.
“Supplier development includes how we and our main prime contractors will increase capacity of local companies so they can be a part of the supply chain by winning contracts,” Brassington explained.
“On the other hand,” she continued, “workforce development will encompass the hiring, staffing, and development plans for Exxon’s employees and key contractors.”
She also promised that Exxon would not present Guyana with a static or unchanging plan.
“Local Content evolves over time, and is always changing,” she said. “The plan is not static; we will submit it in December, and update it every year based on the growing capacity and the stage of the project.”
Local Content and what it will do for Guyana has been a burning question since the announcement of oil being discovered in the Stabroek block. After Exxon first tempered expectations by saying that few job opportunities would be created by oil, it has since said it would help with Local Content delivery.
Since being granted a production licence in June of this year, Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, had given Exxon a six-month deadline in order to submit its Local Content Plan to the Government.
ExxonMobil’s recently appointed Country Manager in Guyana, Rod Henson, had recently announced that the company would be relocating its onshore operations, which were used for support services, from neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago to Guyana.
He had told participants at a meeting that it was not a case whereby ExxonMobil would be looking to build a facility for its support services, but would rather put out tenders, and anyone interested in providing the shore-based services could present a proposal.
Trotman had, in 2016, announced that Cabinet had given its ‘no objection’ to the establishment of the onshore industrial site on Crab Island, in the mouth of the Berbice River. He had said it would be forged through the joint efforts of the ministries of Natural Resources, Public Infrastructure and Business.
Construction was announced for early this year, and the investments from the private sector and Government’s infrastructural work and support were to be equivalent to US$500 million; but the Crab Island facility is yet to materialise.
According to information released by the Government’s Department of Public Information (DPI) this March, the construction of an onshore oil-and-gas facility seeks to cater to the expansion of exploration and subsequent production of oil in Guyana.
That report had said Government would be investing US$500 million to construct the onshore facility during the course of this year, and that the facility would serve as a logistics and supply base to the offshore production, crucial areas of opportunity for Local Content.
What is happening now is that an onshore facility to service Exxon is being constructed by Guyana Shore Base Incorporated (GYSBI) at Houston, EBD. GYSBI is acting in partnership with Muneshwer’s Limited, Pacific Rim Constructors, Total Tech Oil Field Services and LED Offshore.

Meanwhile, Government itself has formulated its own draft Local Content Policy, which was seen by this publication. According to the policy, legislation is likely to be enacted to set out how Guyanese would benefit. The document also sets out that the policy would be enforced by a well-funded and resourced regulatory institution. The regulator, in turn, will be overseen by a multi-stakeholder group representing local bodies that are involved in the sector.
The regulatory agency will also have to report to the National Assembly, as is customary for most regulators who report to the Public Accounts Committee or are overseen by the Auditor General and the Social Services Committee.