Conference Explores Legal Framework on Oil and Gas

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana – The Guyana judiciary Friday began a two day conference on oil and gas law training development with the Acting Chancellor, Justice Yonnette Cummings-Edwards noting that the legal profession must be proactive in embracing the sector.

“We the bar and bench have seen that vision, we’ve seen the need to sharpen our legal skills using the powerful weapon of education,” she said at the conference that is being held in collaboration with the Guyana Bar Association (GBA).

The conference, which seeks to explore the legal framework in oil and gas regulations, is being led by Alicia Elias-Roberts, the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of the West Indies (UWI), a pioneer of legal education on oil and gas law in the Caribbean region.

“I’ll endeavour over the course of the two days to deliver training based upon my experience…to lay the foundation about lessons learnt from other hydrocarbon economies,” Elias-Roberts said,

Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman, who addressed the conference said Guyana’s fast-tracking of the start of oil production in 2020 was part of a broader plan to stamp its sovereignty on the location of the Liza field that Venezuela had claimed as hers,

He urged delegates to take into consideration the Decree made by Venezuela in May 2016 claiming Guyana’s waters and the recent decision by the United Nations Secretary-General to send the Guyana Venezuela controversy to the World Court during their deliberations.

“Because of the redrawing of the line by Venezuela, it was important for Guyana to move to production as quickly as possible so that it can assert when we got to Court that production is taking place within the territorial waters of Guyana. That would become an indisputable fact for a Court of Law,” said Trotman.

He said it was no coincidence or happenstance that the oil was discovered in commercial quantities, Venezuela’s unilateral maritime boundary extension, fast-tracking of production by 2020 and the referral of the controversy to the World Court.

The conference will discuss the petroleum contract, legal and regulatory framework for oil and gas and the sovereign wealth fund during the conference, which is expected to become a featured event for the legal fraternity as the country prepares to become an oil-producing nation.

Among the other presenters at the event is the Senior State Counsel at the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries, Indira Rampaul-Cheddie. – CMC

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