Study shows Suriname businesses must boost capacity to benefit from offshore oil industry

Published: August 20, 2018

Port of Paramaribo, Suriname

As the search for oil continues offshore Suriname, the Dutch-speaking South American country is looking to put systems in place for what the country hopes is an imminent discovery.

State oil company Staatsolie recently commissioned an Industrial Baseline Study (IBS) which has shown that the country’s business community is not quite ready to deliver goods and services to the offshore oil industry.

According to the interim report of the study, Surinamese businesses score reasonably well on competitiveness. However, all stakeholders will have to work hard to eliminate specific shortcomings, a report in the Suriname Herald pointed out.

The interim results of the IBS were presented on August 7, 2018, to the companies and organizations that were interviewed, government bodies and other entrepreneurs. The international consultant DAI Global Inc. executed the Industrial Baseline Study on behalf of Staatsolie and its offshore partners. DAI has conducted similar studies in recent years in countries such as Guyana, Ghana, Tanzania, Guinea and Vietnam. DAI also manages ExxonMobil’s Centre for Local Business Development in Guyana.

The Suriname Herald said the investigation got underway in February. In recent months, DAI has interviewed more than two hundred local companies and twelve different technical training and training institutes. DAI has developed a model for the research and has made assumptions to illustrate the potential economic value of an offshore oil discovery for the local business community and the labour market.

Investments can run from billions of US dollars to development and production from the exploration phase. A large proportion of the assignments normally go to large, specialist, international companies. Nevertheless, there are plenty of opportunities for local businesses to join, provided they start preparing now, the Suriname Herald said.

The study maps out where the local business community now stands and what it and other stakeholders such as the government and educational institutions will have to do in order to play a role in the offshore oil industry.

One of the findings of the study is that facilities on land, where among other things the shore base can be set up, can participate maximally in the offshore oil industry. Against this background, the deepening of the channel of the Suriname River is a must, a topic that was discussed during the discussion after the presentation.

It also appears that despite the limited size of the Surinamese economy, many medium-sized and large companies already supply goods and services to international companies and have experience with capital-intensive projects.

The final results of the study, which will be delivered in the fourth quarter, will help the Surinamese government, the local business community and technical and vocational training organizations to decide what to focus on if they want to make the most of the opportunities that the Surinamese offshore oil industry will offer. This will lead to sustainable economic growth and development in a possible oil discovery, Staatsolie reportedly said.

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