Management of offshore oil and gas resources-Seychelles learns from the US experience


24-August-2011

This is through a three-day workshop being run by the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEMRE), in collaboration with the Seychelles Petroleum Company (Sepec).



The opening session of the workshop yesterday

The workshop, being held at the Sepec conference room, is aimed at officials involved in petroleum engineering, environment, regulatory formulation, revenue management and legal affairs.

This is the third visit to Seychelles by the US Department of the Interior since last year. It comes at a time when two foreign companies are active in exploring a total area of about 36,000 sq km of our exclusive economic zone. Both companies are committed to drill wells next year.

The opening of the workshop yesterday took place in the presence of the Vice-President and Minister for Finance Danny Faure and finance principal secretary Ahmed Afif.

Sepec chairman Captain Guy Adam said development of the oil and gas sector is notorious of the risks and threats it poses to economic and political stability and the environment. He added that management of the sector is therefore a major challenge for governments and local industry.

Capt Adam said discovery of oil in Seychelles, followed by its exploitation, will bring many challenges, including the need for the institutional framework to manage and regulate this new sector of the economy.

He also noted that managing oil revenues will require well defined legislation to ensure that the country gets fair revenues which are used to achieve equitable and sustainable development for the current generation, while also providing for future generations.

Capt Adam went on to note that exploitation of hydrocarbon resources has the potential to significantly impact existing sectors. It can create negative economic, environmental and social impacts if not managed properly.

“We now have to prepare ourselves in the event of an oil discovery. We need not re-invent the wheel as lessons learnt from other countries offer useful advice and complement ideas derived from theory.
“The experiences of the US in the gas and oil sectors can help us understand the pitfalls and incorporate the lessons learnt in our programmes, to prompt us avoid past mistakes.”

The US has been in the petroleum business even before Col Edwin Blake drilled the first commercial oil well in Pennsylvania in August 1859 -- 152 years ago this Saturday.

“It is pleasing to note that the US government has identified Seychelles as a country that has oil and gas potential and may be part of the world’s next generation of oil and gas producing countries.

Capt Adam also expressed the government’s gratitude for the range of valuable  technical support to Seychelles that the US Department of State, through the Energy Governance and Capacity Initiative, is willing to provide.

The workshop will during the three days include detailed discussions on how issues relevant to Seychelles’ oil and gas sectors are handled in the United States.

These include tendering, licencing, geologic and economic modelling, managing transactions and revenue and environmental review and compliance.

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