In an exclusive interview conducted by Kiana Wilburg, the Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Energy Conference, Bobby Gossai, the government’s Senior Petroleum Coordinator, provided comprehensive insights on key provisions embedded within the recently unveiled Whiptail petroleum licence.

On April 12, ExxonMobil was granted the petroleum licence for the Whiptail development offshore after receiving the required government and regulatory approvals.

Exxon which leads a consortium including Hess and CNOOC expects Whiptail – the sixth project on the offshore Stabroek block to add 250,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) of oil production capacity by the end of 2027, raising Guyana’s overall capacity to over 1.3M bpd.

The US$12.7B Whiptail project will include up to 10 drill centers with 48 production and injection wells, targeting a resource base estimated at more than 850M barrels of oil.

Delving into the nuances of the permit’s provisions, Gossai elucidated on how these elements underpin the evolution of the permitting process in Guyana’s burgeoning oil sector.

Central to the discourse was the incorporation of cutting-edge technological solutions aimed at expediting permit approvals and ensuring regulatory compliance. Gossai elaborated on the deployment of advanced digital platforms and data analytics tools, which facilitate real-time monitoring and evaluation of exploration and production activities, thereby fostering greater transparency and accountability in the permitting process.

“We want to make sure that we are updated on what the reservoir has, what is the oil in place…and the amount of resources that can be developed commercially…What we want to ensure is that there are monthly, quarterly and half-yearly reports and ultimately, we will see annual updates that make their way to the minister,” he noted.

Furthermore, the interview shed light on the pivotal role of stakeholder engagement in shaping the permitting process and fostering inclusive development. Gossai emphasized the government’s commitment to fostering constructive dialogue with industry players, local communities, and other stakeholders, underscoring the imperative of collaborative decision-making in ensuring the sustainable development of Guyana’s oil resources.

A key theme that emerged from the discussion was the alignment of permit provisions with broader national development objectives, including environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and economic diversification. Gossai elucidated on the integration of robust environmental safeguards, local content requirements, and community development initiatives within the Whiptail licence, highlighting their role in promoting holistic and sustainable development outcomes.

On the topic of local content, the licence notes, “The Licence Holder shall within six (6) months of the date of this Licence provide a list of potential opportunities for local and overseas training or secondee positions within the organisations of the Licence Holder or affiliated companies, together with estimated costs. The Licence Holder shall maintain and update such list no less frequently than each calendar year. The Licence Holder shall accept the Government of Guyana personnel nominated by the minister for such positions…”

In addition to the provisions discussed, Gossai emphasized the importance of ongoing collaboration with international partners to leverage best practices and expertise in the oil and gas industry. He highlighted initiatives aimed at fostering knowledge exchange and capacity-building, including technical training programs and research partnerships with leading institutions. Furthermore, Gossai reiterated the government’s commitment to promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in the sector, citing initiatives to support local startups and facilitate technology transfer.

By nurturing a culture of innovation and collaboration, Guyana aims to position itself as a hub for sustainable energy development, driving economic prosperity and social progress for generations to come.


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