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Guyanese helping to construct some of the world’s largest, most sustainable FPSOs

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While the local content legislation has paved the way for Guyanese companies to be given first preference in the provision of key services such as catering and ground transportation, it also allows for opportunities in the sophisticated or technical aspects of the industry. According to the law, Guyanese must also be considered for some structural fabrication, which may include works needed for Guyana’s floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessels. In fact, Guyanese are already being considered for work on Uaru and Whiptail–the two largest oil projects in the ExxonMobil-led Stabroek Block.

The Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) for these two projects acknowledge that there will be opportunities for Guyanese support during the drilling and installation stage. Those documents also note that Exxon is working closely with its contractors and subcontractors in identifying additional suitable opportunities for Guyanese workforce development. This is evidenced by the efforts of its FPSO contractors—MODEC and SBM Offshore.

For the Uaru Project, the fifth development in the Stabroek Block, ExxonMobil has contracted MODEC to build an accompanying FPSO named, Errea Wittu . The FPSO will be designed to produce approximately 250,000 barrels of oil per day in 2026.

According to MODEC, “It will be one of the most sustainable FPSOs in the world, using an energy production system with a combined cycle turbine on board…”

Three Guyanese businesses, Guyana Oil and Gas Support Services Inc. (GOGSSI), Asequith Guyana, and ZECO Group of Services, have already been hired by MODEC to provide fabrication services for the vessel, with the possibility of additional local cooperation, partnerships, and numerous spin-off benefits, according to the Japanese firm.

As for the Whiptail project, its FPSO will be called Jaguar. It is under construction by SBM Offshore which is using its industry-leading Fast4Ward® programme. It is also using the company’s seventh new build, the Multi-Purpose Floater hull, combined with several standardised topside modules. The FPSO will be designed to produce 250,000 barrels of oil per day by 2027.

Building on the experience to date of FPSOs Liza Destiny, Liza Unity, Prosperity and ONE GUYANA, SBM Offshore continues to commit to local content development in Guyana by sourcing fabrication scope locally and integrating Guyanese engineers into the execution and operational teams. In May, SBM also issued an RFI seeking Guyanese companies capable of contributing to the building of the Jaguar FPSO with the capability to design, manufacture, and supply structural steel fabrication services.

Additional opportunities are also emerging for Guyanese, too, as ExxonMobil Guyana recently published a request for information (RFI) to identify engineering and construction suppliers who can provide pipe fabrication and assembly, engineering, drafting and installation procedure development services. Exxon said it plans to put in place a multi-year enabling agreement for the fabrication and assembly of carbon steel and thermoplastic composite pipe (TCP) well jumpers within the Georgetown area, hence its RFI to test the capabilities of the market.

In an invited comment, Natural Resources Minister, Vickram Bharrat said the government is keen on ensuring Guyanese are not just capturing the low-hanging fruits in the oil and gas sector, but are well positioned to service the technical aspects of the industry. “Guyana is on a trajectory to maintain the world’s highest GDP for five years straight. We are implementing numerous mechanisms such as the local content law to ensure this growth is felt by every citizen,” said Minister Bharrat.

He said other interventions have included the commissioning of a state-of-the-art FPSO facility simulator at Guyana’s Technical Training College Institute Inc. in Port Mourant, Berbice. The first phase of the state-of-the-art facility was commissioned on February 9, 2024. The initiative, largely led by SBM Offshore Guyana, Stabroek Block partners ExxonMobil, Hess and CNOOC, and the government of Guyana, saw US$13 million being invested in the facility simulator dubbed FacTor. Overall, over US$100 million will be invested.

In May, the Guyana government also announced a landmark programme to train at least 3,000 welders through internationally accredited entities like The Guyana Oil and Gas Service and City and Guilds. Following the completion of these studies, these locals would be utilized across various aspects of the oil and gas value chain.

“Clearly, Guyana’s oil sector is not just about extracting resources; about building a sustainable future with our people at the helm. Our local content legislation has already set the stage for Guyanese to thrive in 40 categories of work, but we are pushing further,” said Minister Bharrat, adding, “Guyana is on a path to unprecedented growth, and we are ensuring that every citizen benefits from this prosperity.”

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