Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
Days after Article 13 poured cold water on the International Energy Conference and Expo (IECEG), its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Angenie Abel and Communications Director, Alex Graham reported that IECEG was a major success, positing that the agenda was clearly set and achieved.
However, in describing it as a “feel good conference,” Article 13 – a civil society organisation – contended that the just concluded International Energy Conference and Expo fell short of addressing critical issues among them the deficiencies within the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA), and the Regulatory Framework governing the Oil and Gas Sector.
But IECEG’s Communications Director, on Thursday, told reporters that the goals, which were clearly outlined for the conference and expo, were achieved as he pointed to 12 areas of success.
“We have seen a lot of comments in the public domain about whether the conference was effective or successful; many of those have come from persons who set their own agendas for us, and then have charged us for not accomplishing the agendas they set. We want to demonstrate that we had a clear agenda, and we certainly achieved everything on that agenda, and in some cases we surpassed even our own expectations,” Graham told reporters during a press conference at the Guyana Marriott Hotel.
It was explained that the conference brought together key players in the Energy Sector inclusive of policy makers, experts, scholars and investors, and successfully broadened the discussion in Guyana beyond Oil and Gas to include the very important issue of Sustainable Energy.
“So we had all of those groups represented in the main, having a single discussion about what the energy future would look like; what the outlook is like for the world and what the outlook is like for Guyana in the context of what is happening in the world. And that is a significant conversation we were able to advance,” he explained.
But while Graham underscored the importance of policy makers present, he said the panels comprised experts in the field and not merely politicians as he responded to criticisms by Article 13 that while the conference saw presentations and participation from three foreign Heads of State and a host of foreign speakers and government officials, the parliamentary opposition and civil society representatives were absent from the panels.
“Panelists were not chosen on the basis of which groups they belonged to, panelists were chosen on the basis of what expertise they brought to the particular subjects that were on the table at the time and the Government Ministers you saw on panels were people who are currently responsible for those particular areas…So you couldn’t become a panelist because you are an opposition Member of Parliament, you had to become a panelist because you are a specialist in a particular area,” Graham said in responding to a question posed by the Village Voice News.
Nonetheless, he said the conference created a platform for some of the biggest names in the Energy Industry such as the Vice Chairman of IHS Markit, Dr. Daniel Yergin; Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, Darren Woods; and Dr. Christian Ketels of the Institute for Strategy and Competitive to share their wealth of knowledge and experience. Additionally, he said it created an enabling environment for large, medium and small scale businesses to explore opportunities for collaboration and investment.
“The fact that we brought some of the biggest names in the sector to Georgetown was significant for Guyanese businesses because in this industry we are new players, so that the bulk of the companies in this are going to be international companies, they were present on the ground here, opening up opportunities for engagement with local businesses,” Graham said.
Weighing in, IECEG CEO added that many deals were struck and opportunities created at she pointed to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest) and Invest Barbados and Export Barbados; and GAICO Construction Inc., and US-based end-to-end commissioning services company, Rev1 Energy.
“We even created opportunities for small businesses…to showcase their products and services right at the expo,” she said.
The conference, according to Abel, was sponsored by 32 entities and saw more than 800 persons in attendance and 153 exhibitors. Due to its success, plans are already in the pipeline for the next conference to be held in February 2023.