Skip to main content

Interview by Micheal Obineme

Interview Focus:  Exploring Guyana-Suriname Basin

Please tell us more about your career journey so far.

I started my career as consultant with one of the Global Big 4 consulting firms, getting my first exposure to the energy industry by way of supporting biofuels clients. I then moved to the supply side of the Oil & Gas industry, working for a multinational steel manufacturing firm that specializes in seamless and welded OCTG, Line Pipe and a variety of other oilfield equipment. I held roles for this company in the U.S. and in Argentina, South America. Next, after repatriating to the U.S., I built and led an upstream O&G consulting practice for the largest market intelligence firm in the world. My practice focused on market research and supply chain strategy for global capital projects, offshore and onshore, and our client list included all the major IOCs, many independent operators and a handful of NOCs. One of my clients, a mid-size independent fully integrated oil company, made me an offer to lead the market intelligence division within their Strategic Sourcing and Category Management segment of their Global Supply Chain. While with this company I became Head of Supply Chain over their Offshore Americas and West Africa business unit, primarily focused on a $5 billion capital project in Ghana. In 2018 I left the corporate world to start an Oil and Gas investment firm in Guyana, where we currently have a few different ventures under our portfolio and are actively looking for international firms to partner with to capitalize on that developing market.

How would you evaluate West Africa’s oil and gas industry compared to Guyana?

It’s like comparing an old man to newborn baby. For example, Guyana’s oil industry is where Nigeria was over 60 years ago. West Africa’s oil industry is much more mature and it also has a lot more producers, more onshore infrastructure, a much more developed and robust oilfield supply chain, and a more advanced fiscal/legislative/regulatory infrastructure. But Guyana has the unique opportunity to learn from best practices and mistakes of all the oil producing countries that preceded it and significantly accelerate its development.

What major projects has Mayson Blackhouse been involved with in Guyana’s energy industry?

We are taking a long-term approach to investing in Guyana. The market is still very much in its infancy with oil one IOC producing and drilling wells. The companies we have set up provide core onshore services within the supply chain for all the major projects to date, which are primarily the offshore production, marine shorebase, and onshore construction projects.

What opportunities does Guyana Suriname Basin presents to Africa E&P and service companies?

The opportunities are many for companies who 1) have a proven track record of delivery in Africa; 2) have capital and are keen to make a long-term investment; and 3) understand the importance to local content development. There are direct opportunities across the entire oil and gas and petroleum product value chain but there are potentially even more indirect opportunities that arise when a currently suddenly starts to exponentially increase their GDP and raise the income level of their entire nation. The government will soon have financial capacity to take one mega-infrastructure projects to improve the quality of life of its citizens. The opportunities are as broad as one’s imagination and experience.

What challenges have you encountered so far?

The main challenge has been a lack of Oil & Gas experience in the country from the top to the bottom, but this is to be expected. In my opinion, more challenging are the international companies looking to come into Guyana and make a quick buck without any intention or strategy to give back to the country and help Guyana develop its people and its industry.  

Are you currently pursuing Co-operation with foreign companies/investors? Which countries are you focused on?

Yes, but we are very intentional and thoughtful about which foreign companies and investors that we align ourselves with. I have the good fortune of having an expansive network in this industry that spans the globe. I have spoken with and met with senior executives of well over 100 companies and investors that are interested in Guyana. Thousands are interested, but very few have the right mixture of a long-term vision and strategy, corporate culture and ethics, and risk appetite that we believe it will take to be successful in Guyana.

How is Mayson Blackhouse involved in Guyana Basin Summit 2021?

We have partnered with one of the world’s leading Oil & Gas conference firms, Global Event Partners (GEP), to jointly organize the Guyana Basin Summit. The first edition is currently scheduled for March 17-19 2021 as a virtual event, followed by a live event on Oct 27-29 2021. The conference focuses on 5 key themes: Upstream Opportunities, Downstream & Infrastructure Opportunities, Government Bi-Lateral Cooperation, Sustainable Local Content Development, and Project Financing across the full development lifecycle. With multiple recent discoveries in Suriname, on the tail of >10 billion barrels discovered so far in Guyana, there is tremendous excitement and opportunity in the basin and the time is now to plant seeds of long-term investment.

The summit will bring together government officials, senior executives, decision makers, business development professionals, and many other stakeholders to facilitate investment, partnering, strategic alliances, and overall business activity in the Guyana basin. With GEP’s world-class experience in Africa, The Americas, and MENA, as well as its latest technologic innovation with its Energy Advance Platform, we feel strongly that the Guyana Basin Summit will set the standard of excellence and be the go-to conference for key players in the Guyana-Suriname basin.

What does Mayson Blackhouse want to achieve by 2021?

Everybody around the world now knows about Guyana. We are one of the few firms that have been on the ground operating since 2017. Our focus in 2021 is to be at the heart of facilitating significant foreign direct investment into Guyana that will create long-term value  for the people of Guyana while also providing robust returns to investors. With strong leadership and uncompromising ethics all sides can thrive. Guyana can learn from and benefit from the decades of experience that exists in West Africa while also avoiding, God willing, some of the shameful mistakes and blunders that have been made. Stay tuned.