After having returned to Suriname, Demis Johnn - COO Strategic Recruitment Suriname N.V. - looks back on a successful participation in the OTC 2021 in Houston, Texas. It was an excellent strategic choice to attend the world's most important offshore resource development event as a local Surinamese party.
On August 18th, a panel session was held with the Guyana-Suriname basin as the subject. International attention to Guyana and Suriname has been significant since the estimation of oil in this area of over 14 billion bbls. In addition to the many opportunities for these two countries, there are unfortunately also challenges due to the lack of experience and knowledge in the field of high-tech offshore petroleum activities. Several prominent speakers and opinion leaders from industry, government and NGOs were invited to this panel session.
From ExxonMobil, Mike Cousins - Senior Vice President of Exploration and New Ventures - spoke about the company's successes in the Guyana-Suriname basin. “The exploration success in the basin is truly unprecedented. It is an incredibly fertile basin”, according to Cousins. He also highlighted ExxonMobil's efforts to build local capacity in Guyana. "Since the initial discovery in 2015, we have made significant progress in job creation," he said. Since 2015, the company has also spent more than $480 million on 800 Guyanese companies. And more than 28,000 Guyanese are involved in ExxonMobil's operations. ExxonMobil sees a similar development for Suriname as well.
Rebecca Collacott of the IPIECA - the global oil and gas industry association - emphasized the need for sustainable development. The IPIECA has developed an 'Accelerated Action' roadmap for promoting environmental and social performance. It identifies how IPIECA as an industry association, together with the oil and gas companies, can work towards a low-emission future while contributing to a healthier and more prosperous world in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Collacott indicated that the lessons learned so far can be used by Suriname to set a gold standard for green development within the oil and gas sector.
The President of Total E&P Americas, Jan-Michel Lavergne, agreed. Lavergne indicated that Total attaches great importance to sustainable development, with a focus on improvement in the following pillars: education & jobs, healthcare, water and energy. In addition to the economic and social benefits, Suriname can also expect sustainable, green economy developments from Total. By having a dialogue with the relevant country, the right formula can be found for what sustainable development should look like. As far as Suriname is concerned, it is one of the two countries in the world with net zero CO2 emissions and Total's mission is to see how this can be preserved from the oil and gas industry. With this 'More energy and less CO2' approach, they indicated, among other things, that they were looking at bringing solar energy to remote areas to help improve livelihoods.
Tim Chisholm, Vice President Hess Corporation, focused on the relevance of and future demand for oil and gas. According to Chisholm, until at least 2040, the energy demand will have to be met by up to 50% by oil and gas. The new oil discoveries play an important role in this, because that oil will be needed to meet this demand. The Guyana-Suriname basin is a very important discovery. Not only because of the significant size of the source, but also because these are so-called 'advantage barrels', i.e. oil with a lower ecological footprint. It is important to keep thinking about the future, Oil is not infinite, so the smartest thing is to use the high income to strengthen other sectors, following the example of Houston.
State Oil Company Suriname N.V. was also present. Patrick Brunings – Exploration and Subsurface Manager – indicated that forming partnerships is important for developing local content and thereby also emphasized participation in the OTC. State Oil’s ambition is to become the main operator in the near shore itself. Investments will be made in development in the field of education, training and certification in order to deploy as many local Surinamese companies as possible.