ExxonMobil promises more jobs for Guyanese after finding oil offshore
GEORGETOWN – Multinational gas company ExxonMobil won’t be building an oil refinery in Guyana but it assures that more jobs will soon be available to Guyanese as it prepares to begin production there.
Jeff Simon, Country Manager of Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited, the local subsidiary of ExxonMobil, has told the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) that there was not enough oil to ensure the viable operation of a refinery.
The oil giant has found an estimated 1.8 billion barrels of high quality crude at Liza2, which has 17 wells.
Exxon signed an agreement with Guyana to explore the block in 1999. It covers 26,800 square kilometers (10,350 square miles) and is 160 to 320 kilometers (100 to 200 miles) offshore.
“[If] you are going to build a refinery, you need more than Liza to do that,” he said, adding that Liza was expected to produce more than the 70, 000 barrels of oil that Trinidad and Tobago currently produces.
He pledged the Guyanese would be at the center of the process.
Against the backdrop of concern that there was too much foreign input, Simon said it was nothing more than “a common misconception” as he outlined the company’s efforts to hire more locals.
Acknowledging that Guyana did not have all the requisite skills, he said the company had taken steps to develop a pool of skilled workers and service providers. These, he said, included drillers, caterers and welders.
“We need to work with our contractors and government to develop the training apprenticeships and curriculum in the local institutions that will support the skills and talents that we need,” he said.
Simon however pointed out that 325 of the 670 persons currently employed by the company were Guyanese and this figure was on track to rise once commercial production began.
He estimated that as many as 600 workers would be coming to Guyana to install wells and other equipment and part of their mandate was to train Guyanese to take over.
“The production operation will be very much dominated by local content,” said Simon.
“We are looking to get some drilling contracts entered into early and try and develop some drilling expertise here locally in Guyana. We are working with a couple of different vendors who are starting to do some capability building and thinking about some courses that could be useful for starting drilling, basically.”
At the production stage, he announced 60 to 80 workers would be mentoring locals to perform to execute the necessary tasks.