If Guyanese authorities continue to effectively champion local content, as well as leverage the experiences of nations like Nigeria and Norway, it would be set for triumph with its world class oil and gas resources. This is according to Dr. Ernest Azudialu-Obiejesi, Chairman and CEO of Nestoil Group.

The Chairman and his team that included Tecon Oil, were on a four-day fact finding mission in Guyana from June 9 to 12, 2024, to understand the opportunities that abound. And during his appearance on the Energy Perspective Podcast, powered by the Guyana Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo, Dr Azudialu-Obiejesi explained that Nestoil has been a major player in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry since 1991. It is recognized as the largest indigenous engineering, procurement, construction, and commissioning company for major international oil and gas companies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nestoil is also renowned for redefining industry standards in pipeline construction, repairs, and maintenance.

With Guyana expected to host over US$55 billion in investments across six projects in the ExxonMobil-led Stabroek Block, the Chairman underscored the importance of ensuring that Guyanese capture a portion of that expenditure. He insisted that championing local content and its associated legislation allowed for his company to become what it is today, adding that the same can happen for many Guyanese.

“The local content initiative or the laws in Nigeria helped Nigerians to be part of the oil development and also to make sure investments that happen over the years permeate throughout Nigeria…Nestoil was one of the companies at the forefront of local content,” shared Dr. Azudialu-Obiejesi. As a result of this, he noted that Nestoil was able to move from being a service company to now an exploration and production company.

“We have producing fields and there is no way we would have been able to achieve that feat without Local Content Laws that protect the indigenous people and ensure their participation in the oil and gas business…,” said the Chairman.

Dr. Azudialu-Obiejesi was keen to note his optimism that Guyana will be replicating such an approach to ensure locals are able to participate as much as possible and even become exploration and production giants soon enough. At the same time, he warned that there are a few pitfalls of which authorities should be mindful.

He said, “The government has to look at the availability of funding to ensure that the locals are empowered, that funds are made available for them to participate…they also have to ensure that the training programmes of oil companies incorporate locals to ensure they are able to participate…”

Dr. Azudialu-Obiejesi added, “Guyana needs to make sure what we call CapEx (capital expenditure) permeates through the economy and it touches the lives of the people of Guyana…The government should also ensure that the people are prepared for the offshoot of services such as those in tourism and technology that come from oil and gas development…”

Overall, the Nestoil Chairman categorically stated that Guyana is well positioned to succeed with oil and gas. By championing local content, ensuring the requisite laws are enforced, and learning from the missteps of Nigeria and other nations, he believes the country will truly realize its potential to become one of the biggest oil and gas players in South America, and the region by extension.


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