According to Minister Albert Ramdin of Foreign Affairs, International Business, and International Cooperation (Bibis), “I don’t see why we should miss the bus,” in response to comments made by Guyanese Vice President Bharat Jagdeo to the Canadian media. In a news conference on Thursday, Jagdeo claimed that Suriname is going to miss the bus as the chance to fully benefit from its offshore oil and gas sector is quickly coming.
Jagdeo was referring to the global shift away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy. Ramdin points out that Suriname must go through a process, just like the neighboring nation Guyana did. “We know that as time goes on, petroleum products will have a limited lifespan. We know that, but the reality is that we have to go through a process, one that Guyana has also gone through.”
The first oil field in neighboring Guyana was discovered in 2015 and oil production effectively began in less than four years. Minister Ramdin points out that Guyana is only now moving towards gas. According to the minister, the intention is that Suriname will start its gas industry earlier. Discussions about this will still take place.
“We are actively engaged with various parties, various countries, including Guyana, to have discussions about joint action.” There have also been discussions with Trinidad and Tobago, says the Bibis CEO. “There have been entire discussions about this, which must be continued. That is also the line we will continue to maintain.” He adds that information sharing is extremely important at this stage. Ultimately, he says, “it will come down to the fact that the countries will have to come together to talk about which option can be best for all countries in this region.”
Jagdeo stated that Suriname’s offshore sector is still in its infancy. “We are happy that Suriname is making progress…we believe that if there is an oil industry in Suriname and it has additional gas, there are opportunities to work together, but they are still far from actually producing oil, a important timeline into the future.”
Minister Ramdin says he understands Jagdeo’s concerns. According to him, it is “a concern that comes with the times that we are only now really starting to exploit and ultimately use gas.” He notes that the gas industry has a longer lifespan. “Oil is a bit more difficult, but with gas we have a longer period that we can use, so I don’t see why we should miss the bus.”