(Stabroek News, 16.Jan.2020) — A Guyanese offshore laboratory technician will go down in history as the person to test the first sample of Guyanese crude oil as it came through the Liza Destiny Floating, Production, Storage and Offload-ing (FPSO) vessel.
According to an ExxonMobil release yesterday, Shivnarine Outar, a laboratory technician, employed by Nalco Champion, was understandably elated to be the first to test the first sample that was pumped aboard the FPSO. “So many things can happen from that crude that is right there in front of me and I was fortunate enough to capture that moment,” gushed Outar, adding, “Nobody can take that from me right now, never!”
The technician recalled waiting eagerly for hours on December 20, 2019, the day Guyana produced its first drop of oil. “We were making sure our apparatuses are correct, we made sure our instruments are calibrated, and our sample boards are all prepared and ready,” he related. “I had to be all suited up, as a safety precaution with a mask, gloves and boots everything, the whole nine yards just to get a sample of this Guyanese oil. The moment finally came at 9:34 pm, that’s when we got the first sample of Guyanese oil on the FPSO.”
From what is referred to as the “cortex” of the FPSO, Outar and his local colleague, Rajiv Indarjeet, have the task of testing the quality of Guyana’s oil against certain benchmarks. “The Guyana National Bureau of Standards has been doing a lot of work with the American Petroleum Institute and so we are the guys on the FPSO making sure those specifications are met,” he explained.
The former Covent Garden Secondary School student referred to the landmark occasion as one of pride yet unbelievable and which caused “goose bumps”. “I’m actually reliving the moment right now,” he said looking down at his arms. “I was almost emotional, it meant so much to me, and it meant so much for my family and for the Guyanese population. I looked at the oil and said “what the…?’ I was so proud… I am so proud right now.”
Outar has been employ-ed by Nalco Champion since April 2019 and rotates on to the FPSO every 28 days. He was trained in the United States, Singapore and Brazil before assuming his role on the FPSO. He is currently being mentored by experienced personnel whom he will eventually replace. The 28-year-old, who was once responsible for testing the quality of El Dorado Rum, has a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Guyana and an MBA through Nations University.
He was raised in Soesdyke on the East Bank of Demerara by a supportive family who instilled in him drive and dedication. “When I go on the FPSO, they are the reason I want to work safely and come home.”
Meanwhile, Outar sees oil production as an opportunity for himself, family and other Guyanese to thrive. He is optimistic about its potential to transform the country’s and improve people’s lives.
“Be patient,” he advises. “Oil is here to stay for a long time so be patient, keep looking for the opportunities and they will come.”