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Georgetown, Guyana – (January 17, 2017) The Department of the Environment (DoE), today, hosted a training workshop, in collaboration with FUGRO-McClelland Marine Geosciences Incorporated (FUGRO) aimed at ensuring that every sector in the country is adequately prepared to treat with Guyana’s emerging oil and gas sector within the framework of the green economy.

The one-day workshop for the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), which is the agency charged with overseeing the effective management, conservation and protection of the environment, and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) was hosted at the Marriott Hotel Guyana and is among several initiatives planned by the Department to prepare stakeholders to deal with Guyana’s imminent oil and gas future and its emerging sectors and needs. Ms. Onika Stellingburg, Stakeholder Management Co-ordinator at the DoE, said that the workshop has its genesis in the execution of the Department’s mandate to strengthen the capacity of all its sector agencies.

Ms. Onika Stellingburg, Stakeholder Management Co-ordinator at the Department of the Environment.

FUGRO’s Country Manager in Guyana, Mr. Brian Hottman, said its role is to teach the participants about the “life of field” in the sector, that is, how it works and moves from the geophysical phase all the way to the decommissioning phase. “It’s… a basic course to open up information to them… What we’re doing is we’re helping them understand the way it’s worked in other countries and showing them different technologies to make sure that when something starts that it is left the same way when it’s finished,” he said. With regard to Guyana’s preparedness to embark on sustainable development within the oil and gas sector, Mr. Hottman said that while infrastructure such as offshore to onshore pipelines and oil refineries would have to be built, “there’s a huge growth that will take place in Guyana”.

Meanwhile, Ms. Stellingburg said that the EPA’s participation is vital to the future of this sector as “they’re a pivotal organisation in ensuring that compliance and monitoring that takes place in the oil and gas sector is done at a level that can be matched in any other part of the world”. The agency is also mandated with establishing the guidelines for the sustainable exploitation of Guyana’s natural resources. While the GGMC does not fall within the purview of the DoE, she said that it is “instrumental in the work that we know the oil and gas sector will be doing in…our country”.

In keeping with its overall mandate to ensure that Guyana’s natural patrimony is developed sustainably, the DoE is also tasked with ensuring that the exploitation of our natural resources is done in keeping with the EPA regulations and that outside of those guidelines, it is done according to standard operating procedures that can that can be found in any other part of the world. “We need to ensure that our sector agencies are well equipped with the technical knowledge of what to look for, how to effectively monitor and… ensure that the companies that are coming are working according to established guidelines… just to ensure that as much as we’re getting returns from our investment, it is being done in a manner that will not harm the environment,” Ms. Stellingburg said.

Apart from developments within the oil and gas sector, the DoE is also the focal point in Guyana where several of the environmental policies will be created, which will encompass infrastructural, education and tourism development, in keeping with the principles of the ‘green’ agenda. The Department aims to attain intersectoral collaboration and to ensure that all of its stakeholders are well informed so that development can take place holistically.

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