ExxonMobil, Stabroek Block partners invest $20B in local capacity building

President Irfaan Ali

As part of its local content mandate, ExxonMobil Guyana along with its Stabroek Block partners, Hess and CNOOC Limited – have made a $20 billion investment in capacity building for Guyanese over the next 10 years.
This was announced by President of ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge, on Tuesday during a virtual launch of the “Greater Guyana Initiative”, which is aimed at expanding local capacity-building efforts and promoting sustainable economic development in Guyana.
According to Routledge, the investment is fully funded by the Stabroek Block operating partners and is not cost recoverable.
“It is a part of our long-term, broad commitment to local content and responsible development of the oil and gas resources of Guyana,” he noted.
Routledge explained that this initiative started with months of discussions with key stakeholders in order to gain an understanding of the existing capacity and the areas where these funds can make a difference as part of Guyana’s transformative journey.
He added that Exxon and its offshore co-venturers will choose capacity-building projects to fund in consultation with local, regional and national stakeholders. These programmes are expected to be aligned with the country’s overall development objectives.

ExxonMobil Guyana President Alistair Routledge

Additionally, third-party experts including Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) will be enlisted to implement initiatives and assess the programme’s effectiveness, the ExxonMobil Guyana President stated.
Already, three local entities – the University of Guyana, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council and the Centre for Local Business Development – have received funds and are carrying out programmes as part of the Greater Guyana Initiative.
“Our goals and programmes will evolve over time and include public health initiatives and activities in each of the regions. Over the life of this innovative initiative, my colleagues and I are looking forward to sharing how these programmes and projects will benefit people in Guyana and give people the tools to access new and expanded economic activities,” Routledge asserted.
Meanwhile, President Dr Irfaan Ali lauded the “sizeable” investment by the Stabroek Block co-venturers into the future of all Guyanese.
President Ali said his Government is committed to ensuring that Guyana mitigates the harsh effects of both the Dutch Disease and the “resource curse”. However, he noted that Government alone cannot do this and emphasised the need for collaboration with local stakeholders as well as investors.
He said, “The relationship between a government and any investor cannot be measures only by taxation and royalties. Shared values and mutual interests are equally important.”
The Head of State added that he has already made it pellucid to the top executives of the Stabroek Block partners that they need to take a more active role in meaningful local content strategies.
“I have encouraged them to make investments that guarantee the development of key non-oil areas and the advancement of Guyanese. The $20 billion non-cost recoverable initiative is a sizable investment in the future of all Guyanese. It is a forward step of cooperation between my Government and the Stabroek Block co-venturers ExxonMobil, Hess and CNOOC,” the President asserted.
He went on to note that projects such as the “Greater Guyana Initiative” not only uplift the Guyanese workforce but also supports cross-sector competitiveness of local businesses and energises the business environment for sustainable economic growth.
President Ali further posited that the establishment of this initiative is not to be seen as conclusive of Government’s expectation that the Stabroek Block operators will act responsibly in the conduct of their business within Guyana’s shores.
On this note, representatives from both Hess Corporation and CNOOC Limited have also reiterated continued commitment to Guyana’s development.
Hess Corporation’s Vice President – Guyana and Suriname, Tim Chisholm, said their commitment to Guyana extends well beyond the oil and gas sector.
“I could think of nothing more important to economic prosperity than to build the critical skills that are in demand by the industry. At Hess, we have the highest hopes for the long-term sustainable growth of Guyana and we believe that the creation of the Greater Guyana Initiative is an important step in fulfilling that aspiration,” Chisholm stated.
Meanwhile, Vice President of International Developments at CNOOC International, Keith Henderson, posited that as a partner in the Stabroek Block and the third-largest investor in Guyana, his company is determined to deliver benefits to the country by investing in local communities.
“Our partnership in the Greater Guyana Initiative is a key step in laying the foundation for successful programmes and projects that benefit both the youth of Guyana and the broader community across Guyana by participating in high-quality programmes… Helping expand the technical and social-economic capacity of Guyanese is key to enhancing our success in Guyana,” Henderson added.
The Greater Guyana Initiative will see the Centre for Local Business Development being transitioned into a long-term centre of excellence for the broader industry. More than 2400 Guyanese companies are registered with the centre, which was established by the co-venturers in 2017 with the mission of supporting local businesses to become globally competitive. The initiative will also seek opportunities to expand existing support and advance higher education programmes at the University of Guyana.
Through the Initiative, UG has already benefited from projects such as campus safety, telecommunications equipment enhancement and hosting visiting professors and experts.
Chairman of TVET Council, Clinton Williams added: “Our year-long collaboration and planning ensures a comprehensive programme of targeted education for youth in the areas of mechanical, electrical and welding as well as tailored training for instructors that is suited for the long-term development needs of Guyana.”
ExxonMobil affiliate Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited is the operator of the offshore Stabroek Block with a 45 per cent interest. Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd holds 30 per cent interest and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited, holds 25 per cent interest.
Current development activities include three offshore projects – Liza Phase 1 and 2 and Payara. Liza Phase 1 has been producing oil for just over a year. Liza Phase 2 and Payara are on track to begin production of oil by 2022 and 2024 respectively. The number of Guyanese nationals supporting project activities doubled in 2020 to more than 2100 and over $67 billion was spent with more than 700 local suppliers. (G8)