GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Guyana's President
Irfaan Ali on Tuesday defended his country's right to develop
its oil industry for securing energy resources and benefits for
its population while insisting laws requiring local goods and
services are not meant to block investments.
A string of discoveries off its coast is on the verge of
turning the tiny South American country into an oil powerhouse.
International producers, led by Exxon Mobil Corp, have
found more than 10 billion barrels of recoverable oil and gas
that are poised to reshape the impoverished nation of fewer than
Residents are calling on the government to secure tangible
benefits from the oil projects. In a tumultuous session at the
country's National Assembly, a bill was passed in December
requiring between 5% and 100% of local content in activities by
contractors and licensees.
Pressure is building over oil companies operating in Guyana,
especially the Exxon consortium, which has said it could produce
800,000 barrels per day (bpd) by the end of 2025.
"We welcome Exxon. We welcome investments," President Ali
said at the inauguration of a week-long energy conference in
Georgetown. "Local growth and increased productivity must be
built into the system to bring benefit to the people."
Exxon late last year outlined an onshore supply base
expected to expand jobs and boost local fabrication starting
with its fourth production unit. The project could bring total
investment in Guyana to $30 billion.
(Reporting by Sabrina Valle, writing by Marianna Parraga
Editing by Marguerita Choy)