– over 2,300 local businesses already listed– hundreds participate as two day business networking forum endsBy Jarryl BryanDay two of the ExxonMobil business development forum saw participation from the oil company’s sub-contractors networking with local suppliers. And while the event is over, there are still opportunities for companies to get a foot into the oil and gas sector’s proverbial door.According to Exxon’s Senior Director of Public and Government Affairs Diedre Moe, the oil company’s Centre for Local Business Development (CLBD) will be the interface through which the networking will continue after the forum ends.“We’ll continue to utilise the centre to be able to talk about what’s coming up and the centre will be a resource for businesses to be able to reach out and for businesses to continue to say what’s needed, how we can continue to get the necessary qualifications or certifications, what are the safety standards for aExxon’s Senior Director of Public and Government Affairs Diedre Moeparticular business.”“We really set up the forum because we got feedback from people who did not have an appreciation or understanding for how this particular part of the business and industry works, we’re still new. We’re three years in. So hopefully over the last day and a half, that understanding has gotten better.”Asked whether there were any plans to host the forum next year, she reiterated that the event was set up based on production activities. In the case of this two day forum, Moe noted that it was set up to align with the Liza Phase one project. She also explained that there was a limited window of opportunity for certain businesses with the project.“With production starting (in 2020), you won’t have the same type of need for these particular contractors coming forward, because we’re really in the installation type of phase. As we move towards phase two, maybe late next year or potentially into 2020, potentially as we move into phase two because we want to structure it to continue to have that.”“But we still have the centre, throughout. And as they make relationships they’ll beAn attendee at the forum makes a point to an Exxon employeeable to stay in touch with companies that will have activities coming across the projects, to be able to continue to secure future contracts.”Moe revealed that on day one of the forum, almost 400 representatives from various local businesses attended. That number, according to Moe, hiked on Tuesday as companies came in to interact directly with Exxon’s various contractors.CLBDThe CLBD was one of several sub-contractors who set up booths at the exhibition on Tuesday. In an interview with Guyana Times the centre’s Senior Principal Specialist Natasha Gaskin-Peters gave details on how many Guyanese companies and small businesses have registered to take advantage of the oil and gas sector.“The response has been good. So far we have 2,300 companies. About half of those are locally registered companies. There are many Guyanese businesses engaged with us, taking advantage of the courses and they are seeingA model of an underwater oil processing networkopportunities. We do register companies.“They can go to our website, click on supplier register portal and they can have their business registered. We’re there to build the capacity of local Guyanese businesses. So we’re there for support. We do this through training. We also have a mentorship programme, where we’re assisting companies to become (International Organisation for Standardisation) certified.”There are some formalities after being registered. For instance, Gaskin-Peters noted that the CLBD does a gap analysis of businesses who want to be a part of the sector. This analysis shows, among other things, exactly where a business is and what it needs to do to reach its short and long term goals.“We go to companies and we audit you. So we have a look at how you’re governed, what are some of the management systems you have in place and the record keeping. So we do a pre audit.”“In general we have local companies who are sole traders, very micro enterprises, and then we have those that are larger. Some companies know they won’t get a direct opportunity in the oil and gas sector. But they know that by taking our courses, they are building capacity and becoming more efficient,” she said.