Today, Government of Guyana (GOG) released a list of 228 “companies” that have been benefitting from the local content efforts of ExxonMobil. The list, when perused, was found to be padded. Names of companies were duplicated and individuals were dubbed “registered companies.” Even Bourda Market was listed as a company.
Internationally, local content deals with the development local skills, expansion and use of local manpower and the transfer of technology and related assets. In the oil and gas framework, local content is understood to mean the use of companies and citizens of the host country for the support of the operations.
In Guyana, operations are offshore, so one would not have expected the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) to be included in the list of companies benefitting from local content efforts simply because GPL has nothing to do with what is happening offshore.
Further, other state institutions such as Guyana Water Inc were included in the list. Down to the tax collection agency—the Guyana Revenue Authority—was named a benefitting company.
Even further, Bourda Market, Royal Castle, Bounty Supermarket, Metro Office and Computer Supplies, Star Party Rentals and a number of other eateries and supplies stores were listed as companies that benefitted from ExxonMobil’s local content strategy.
The list of companies speaks to companies used by ExxonMobil during the first quarter of 2018. (See link for full list https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1k9poJOdaBpMhetsEZ0a39mn2U1GHb3VrMfi-UtPbFpI/edit#gid=2010221307)
Since its release, the list has been criticized for containing duplicates. For example; Ram and McRae makes176 on the list but it is repeated as “Rams” and McRae at 179 on the said list.
Another anomaly is the fact that the list of registered “companies” includes the names of local individuals. These include: Sonia Noel, Chontelle Sewett, Andron Alphonso and Mokesh Daby.
International Local Content Expert Nelson Narciso told the Guyana Standard that based on his preliminary examination of the list; it does not amount to “local content.”
Narciso said, “If you want to know if something is local content or not then ask yourself, did the company’s investment lead to the development of local skills to a lasting degree? Were local businesses able to increase their manpower to support the operations of the oil company? Was there transfer of technology and related assets? If not, then you have your answer.”
The Local Content Advisor with more than 30 years experience said, ‘Nowhere in the world is catering services seen as local content. The country is being bamboozled by someone…”
It was in early March that ExxonMobil’s Head of Public and Government Affairs, Kimberly Brasington told the nation that ExxonMobil used 309 companies to support its operations last year. But the government and ExxonMobil are yet to make this list public.