Suriname intends to become one of the top oil producing countries. President Chan Santokhi emphasized this at the opening of the Suriname Energy, Oil & Gas Summit (SEOGS) on Monday. To achieve that goal, investments from abroad are needed, but also good governance. “There is no room for political shortcuts if we want to become what we can be,” said Santokhi. He has also emphasized that while the government is going to do everything it can to accommodate the oil and gas industry, it is also going to make as much effort as the rest of the world to move away from fossil fuels.
Santokhi and Vice President Ronnie Brunswijk officially opened the third edition of the international fair for everything related to the oil and gas industry on Monday. The summit will be held by Staatsolie. It turned out bigger than the previous times. For Minister Albert Ramdin (Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation) there has already been success. “This year we have 150 exhibitors, participants from 40 countries, more than 200 speakers and 560 top executives,” he said. “That’s impressive. More than 6,000 visitors are expected. That is a lot for a country with a population of 600,000. There are participants from 40 countries. In my view, that is a success in itself.”
The SEOGS fair in Torarica lasts two more days. In the two large tents there are various companies from home and abroad to present and offer their goods and services such as ICT, insurance, heavy equipment, telecommunications, transport, tourism, catering, port builders, energy supply. Santokhi has indicated in his long speech what it takes to put the country on the list of major oil countries. Such as investments in energy, artificial intelligence, infrastructure including roads, airports and ports.
The government will make new laws or regulations if necessary, or amend existing ones to make the investment climate attractive, Santokhi announced. He indicates that there are enormous challenges to make the country “a respected developed country”. But the government is steadfast and focused on the target. “If we aspire to be what we can be, there is no room for political shortcuts,” Santokhi tells the packed room. “And this approach is the only sustainable path forward.”
The president has emphasized that the Savings and Stabilization Fund is essential. Income from the oil and gas industry will be invested in other sectors such as tourism, education and the agro sector. This will allow the country to tap into multiple sources of income. The diversification is necessary to move away from fossil fuels, as the world trend dictates. There is enough potential to generate energy from water, windmills and solar energy, says Santokhi. In addition, there are plenty of opportunities to start money flows with carbon credits. In this case, companies in the oil and gas sector could offset the pollution they cause by purchasing carbon credits.