GEORGETOWN, The oil-and-gas sector can develop high standard technical and vocational skills which can be transferred to other sectors, according to
energy expert Anthony Paul, a Trinidad national who serves on Guyana’s Local Content Committee.
According to a GINA report, Paul pointed out that there exists a myth over the types of jobs available in the oil-and-gas sector. While engineers and geologists
are necessary skills in the industry, for Guyana, the job opportunities lie in technical and vocational skills. Guyana is preparing for oil production sometime
in 2020, after significant oil find in 2015. Paul pointed out that Trinidad and Tobago “did well” at developing those skills with apprenticeship programmes in
its oil-and-gas industry. He noted that this is a decision for the Government to make. More importantly, these skills are transferrable.
In Trinidad’s case, Paul noted, the twin-island state’s oil-and-gas sector employ only about four percent of the workforce, but more than 20 per cent of T&T’s
workforce is trained in some technical or vocational skill.Additionally, these skills, when transferred, can also raise the standards of the sectors in which they are
Paul, however, cautioned that developing technical and vocational skills must not be done at the neglect of high-end skills. The Government has to be strategic
in how it develops skills for the industry, Paul cautioned. Paul used Ghana as an example of how this did not work out.
Over the last two years, Paul worked as an advisor to the Ghanaian Government, developing and putting regulatory systems in place for that country’s Ministry of Petroleum.
“Guyana has to be careful about what training you spend your money on,” he said. The Government is cognisant of this, and has been making provision for
developing both technical and high-end skills.
The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNRE), through the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), has committed to spending $100 million over the
next three years to boost UG’s training capacity for the oil-and-gas industry.
Additionally, the MNRE has with the Mexican Petroleum Institute a partnership arrangement that includes scholarships particularly in areas of technical and
vocational skills. There are also plans for a Petroleum Scientific Institute to be established locally by 2020.
Anthony Paul is currently a consultant to the Ministry of Natural Resources on the development of a Local Content Policy for Guyana’s oil-and-gas sector.