Oil spill clean-up company launched in Guyana

President David Granger on Friday commissioned Guyana’s first oil spill response operation service at the Gaico Wharf at Nismes, West Bank Demerara.

Gaico Oil Spill Response Operation Services, which was coined by Komal Singh, is set up as a pre-emptive measure against probable spillage once production commence in the future.

A Gaico employee demonstrating how the oil spill machine is operated
A Gaico employee demonstrating how the oil spill machine is operated

President Granger commended Singh for his “forward” thinking and initiative while stating that by casting his sight on Guyana’s emerging petroleum sector he has positioned himself, and moreover the company for ground-breaking incomes.

He stated that foresight and economic entrepreneurship will harness significant benefits and so Guyana should prepare itself for new economic sectors. He indicated that while Government is confident that the production of petroleum will create new opportunities, it will not end Guyana’s economic challenges: “We cannot therefore fold our arms and wait for the anticipated bonanza; we must create a balanced and diversified economy.” Thus, he posited that an “entrepreneurship culture” will allow Guyana to develop world class products and services within its green economy and enable it to be more resilient and less susceptible to economic shocks.

He explained that over the past century Guyana has been on the receiving end of such shocks because of its over-reliance on bauxite, fish, gold, silver and timber; and it is time to delve into free enterprise.

However, he did indicate that environment where entrepreneurship is fostered would require developed infrastructure, access to cheap electricity, innovation, and investments will advance the economy.

The Gaico company began in 1991 with Singh working on small construction projects in Region Three. Singh stated that he had noticed that there are a number of near misses of oil spills and decided to pursue the avenue of preparing for one in Guyana. He said that the company has since invested in a supply boat to work alongside rigs and supply them with fuel and cargo, while preparing for any occurrence of an oil spill.

“Should there be a spill anywhere we can respond within 24 hours,” he said, adding that the company is in the process of putting together documents to gain approval for an oil spill facility which will collect the contaminated soil and process it.

He stated that he had recognised that Guyana was not prepared for any oil spills, thus “Guyana can rest assure that there is a company here today that will invest in to protect our land, our coastline, our birds, our mangroves, and all Guyana.”

On the other hand, Singh indicated that Guyana should not allow oil and gas to be a replacement of the country’s GDP but a plus to it while it strives to continue to develop its existing sectors. He said this outlook will create a sustainable economy because “come ten years from now when oil and gas finishes our economy will still have a base that can sustain itself.” He also stated the country should not be distracted by the expected revenue oil production would bring.

Oil and gas grouping

Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) Eddie Boyer stated that while he is pleased with the establishment of the public procurement commission, he is also extremely elated that local companies are not waiting for the production of oil but are taking initiatives to create businesses around the sector.

He stated that there is need for new entrepreneurs to meet the demand in oil production and so the PSC will be forming an oil and gas grouping, which will address matters relating to growth and development of the petroleum sector: “We will be ready when the industry begins its rapid growth.”

Recently, ExxonMobil discovered that the second exploration well in the Stabroek block offshore Guyana has a recoverable resource of between 800 million and 1.4 billion oil-equivalent barrels. The wells are located in the Stabroek block which is approximately 120 miles (193 kilometres) offshore. It is predicted that production might begin in another five to seven years.