Taking into account, the fact that the Guyana Shore Base Inc. (GYSBI), the country’s main onshore facility for servicing vessels in the oil sector, is overwhelmed with the needs of the Liza Phase One operations, industry stakeholders have increased calls over the years for more shore bases to be established. In doing so, however, the newly installed President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Timothy Tucker is of the firm conviction that Guyanese must be part of the ownership structure for these facilities.
He made his position known during a recent interview on a local radio station. There, Tucker said he is very much aware of the fact that the capacity to address the needs of the growing oil industry is not where it ought to be but he is hopeful that this would soon change as ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), recently called for Expressions of Interest to supply shore base services.
With this in mind, Tucker said, “I believe that it is a good sign. It is going to encourage some development…But I believe any shore base being built on Guyanese soil should include a Guyanese, there is no compromise there. I do not believe we should sell any land…I am not against foreign direct investment but the Chamber’s mandate is to promote locals, to represent local business, and to make sure local businesses get full value…”
While Tucker’s call is supported by many like-minded Guyanese, others have cautioned the new petro-State to temper its expectations about the extent to which it wants to service the industry. Head of GYSBI, Sean Hill recently noted in this regard that Guyana with its population of about 700,000 people, must bear in mind that shore base facilities require an array of technical and skilled labour. Hill said that Guyana must approach the development vision for the sector with a keen understanding of the impact that would be had on other sectors like gold and agriculture. Hill was keen to remind that at the end of the day, it is the intention of the Irfaan Ali-led administration to ensure Guyana builds a diversified economy; an economy that is not dependent on oil and gas resources.