US congressional team due this week

A team of about eight American Congress men and women is due in the Caribbean Community nation of Guyana this week in the aftermath of a massive 2015 oil and gas discovery and the presence of a growing number of United States owned businesses setting up shop here.

State Minister Joseph Harmon announced plans for the visit at a post cabinet briefing Thursday calling it a familiarization visit to a country that is growing in geo political and economic importance.

American Embassy spokeswoman Amanda Cauldwell gave no details about the composition of the delegation, but Harmon said “it signals a growing confidence in the relationship between the US and Guyana.”

Back in mid 2015, American oil major ExxonMobil announced “world class” deposits of oil and gas offshore Guyana, paving the way for the country to become an oil producer. First oil is expected either in late 2019 or early 2020. Exxon and partners Hess Oil of the United States and Nexen of China plan to drill up to 17 wells in the first phase and about 40 around 2025. By then, Guyana should be producing about 750,000 barrels of oil a day.

Harmon said that several American investment companies have been setting up shop in the country. Last week, the Guyana branch of the US Chamber of Commerce inaugurated its operations here, staring with 17 members.

Among companies with interest in Guyana are Chevron, Anadarko oil of Texas and Halliburton. American Airlines is due to begin flights from Texas and Miami in November. This would be a first for the carrier.

Since the announcement, this publication was able to obtain the names of the delegation. It includes Bod Goodlatte of Virginia, Freshman John Rutherford of Florida, Darrell Issa of California, John Curtis of Utah, Todd Rokita of Indiana, Richard Hudson, North Carolina, Mark Sanford, South Carolina, Stephen Cohen, Memphis, Tennessee and Scott Peters, also of California.

The delegation also comprises several senior legislative staffers and military personnel. They are scheduled to hold talks with President David Granger, other high level officials, oil executives and diplomats among others.

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