It was revealed that the Department of Energy is moving ahead with the hiring of an international firm for consultation purposes. This should be done early part of the fourth quarter of 2019 Dr. Bynoe stated.
“In the atmosphere of transparency, we went through a two-stage recruitment process, we had an [expression of interest] EOI which was advertised locally and internationally. We received several expressions of interest and from that, we then moved to ask them to submit their request for proposals,” he underscored.
Dr. Bynoe stated that the consultant law firm will have discussions across institutions and assist in the preparation of draft laws and regulations for submission to the National Assembly.
It was also highlighted that the current exploration and production Act of 1986 needs to be revised and repealed if necessary. “Once that is in place, we will then be able to move rapidly towards establishing the other subsidiary entities, legislation and regulation,” he stated.
While that is being sorted out, Dr. Bynoe noted that the Department of Energy is being proactive and looking at what is best in the establishment of the petroleum commission. “In the interim what we are looking at best practices for petroleum commission to be in place. What kind of structures we need to establish, what kind of units need to be there and what skillset we need to be working with. So, so that is what the needs assessment is expected to do, ....in terms of setting up the organisational structure for a petroleum commission as we move forward,” he pointed out.
The Petroleum Commission Bill, a critical piece of legislation is at the Special Select Committee of Parliament. The Bill has been the subject of consultation for several months, during which various stakeholders and the public had a chance to raise concerns and make suggestions as to how the Bill can be made improved.
The Commission will have the responsibility of monitoring and ensuring compliance with the policies, laws and agreements for petroleum operations. It will also, inter alia, be responsible for ensuring compliance with health, safety and environmental standards and ensure local content and local participation in all the activities.
It will also be tasked inter alia, with researching efficient, safe, effective and environmentally responsible exploration, development and production of petroleum in Guyana, including the optimum methods of exploring for, extracting and utilising petroleum and petroleum products.
In the meantime, in accordance with the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) that ExxonMobil has with Guyana, the oil giant has relinquished 20 percent of the Canje Oil Block.
While these blocks are now accessible, Director of the Department of Energy, Dr. Mark Bynoe explained that several legislations and policies will first have to be put in place in preparation for first oil before this can happen.
“Our priority is first oil because we need to be prepared for that, and first oil is staring us in the face, while we still work on fleshing out those other elements for future licensing rounds and future issuing of blocks.”
Dr. Bynoe was adamant that more must be done with the provisions of the 1986 Act, saying that “That Act is fairly silent on mid and downstream activities. We need to make it a lot more robust in regards to decommissioning as well as how it fits the local content dimensions that we are elaborating on.”
With this and the local content policy draft in place, the department will then begin looking at marketing the block again.
Just last April, ExxonMobil announced its 13th discovery offshore Guyana at the Yellowtail-1 well, the Noble Tom Madden had begun drilling the Yellowtail well on March 27, 2019.
In February, ExxonMobil announced its 11th and 12th discoveries offshore Guyana at the Tilapia-1 and Haimara-1 wells in the southwest section of the Stabroek Block.
ExxonMobil intends to drill more than 10 exploration and appraisal wells offshore Guyana in 2019 and 2020. The company has noted the potential for at least five floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels on the Stabroek Block producing more than 750,000 barrels of oil per day by 2025
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