Remarks as prepared
Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch
Virtual Oil and Gas Webinar hosted by U.S. Commercial Service and U.S. Embassy Guyana
March 16, 2021
Thank you, Victoria, for your kind introduction.
Your Excellency Vice President Jagdeo, Dr. Peter Ramsaroop from GOINVEST, our Guyanese private sector colleagues Zulfikar Alli, Shyam Nokta, and Natasha Gaskin-Peters, Sean Hill from GYBSI, our guests today, good morning. It’s an honor to speak with you today, and I thank the U.S. Department of Commerce for their support of this event.
Today’s meeting on oil and gas opportunities is especially well timed. On March 3, ExxonMobil announced it now estimates the Guyana-Suriname Basin to hold more than 18 billion barrels of oil. Despite a pandemic and a crash in oil prices, the production of Guyana’s nascent oil reserves still propelled Guyana’s GDP to grow by 43.5% in 2020, making it the fastest growing economy in the world. Looking ahead in 2021, the Government of Guyana projects the economy to expand by 20.9%.
On shore, the National Assembly approved the Government of Guyana’s annual budget on March 5 and Guyana recently received its first shipments of COVID-19 vaccines. Despite the ravages of a pandemic and difficult global economic condition, Guyana continues to thrive.
As you can imagine, the Government of Guyana has been flooded with commercial inquiries since being sworn in August, a testament to the opportunities here. In this brief introduction, I’d like to give a short guide to start the process for developing relationships here. This not only holds for oil and gas, but for other sectors as well.
First, Embassy Georgetown is a Partner Post of the U.S. Commercial Service, and as a result we can be your first resource for doing business in Guyana. The “Getting Started” page of our embassy website has detailed information and a useful Frequently Asked Questions, and I hope you will be in touch with our Commercial Team for your inquiries.
Second, Guyana has procedures and institutions in place to assist foreign businesses establish operations. Today on this call we have GOINVEST, the government’s investment arm, and representatives of key business organizations, including the American Chamber of Commerce, the Guyana Manufacturers and Services Association, and the Center for Local Content Development. Relationships with them will be essential. The government is moving quickly and is looking for “shovel ready” projects, so I emphasize the importance of doing the necessary groundwork prior to reaching out.
With that, I’d like to introduce today’s guests who will talk to you about how the process, the opportunities, and successes. Today you will hear from:
- His Excellency, Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo
- Sean Hill, the General Manager for Guyana Shore Base Incorporated, or GYSBI, the first shore base in Guyana.
- Peter Ramsaroop, the CEO of the Guyana Office for Investment, GOVINEST
- Shyam Nokta, the outgoing president of the Guyana Manufacturers and Services Association, one of the four largest private sector organizations in Guyana.
- Natasha Gaskin – Peters, the Head of the Center for Local Content Development, a key contact for any company that wants to bid on oil and gas projects.
- Zulfikar Alli, President of AmCham Guyana, which is here to serve U.S. companies and foster deeper ties between our two markets.
As Guyana embarks on its incredible journey to become the third, or possibly the second, largest oil producing nation in the region the panelists on today’s webinar will help open the door and unlock future partnerships.
With that, it is my honor to present the Honorable Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo. His Excellency previously served as Guyana’s President from 1999-2011, Minister of Finance from 1995-1999, and has been the architect of key Guyanese policies aimed at driving private sector-driven growth.
Your Excellency, welcome to this forum and thank you for participating today. The floor is yours.