French shipowning giant Bourbon has helped set up the first domestic offshore shipping company for the Guyanese oil and gas sector.

The company’s Bourbon Marine & Logistics unit has formed a joint venture with its partner in the South American country, Tethys Marine & Logistics.

The domestic operator has 51% of Bourbon Guyana, with Bourbon on 49%.

Three quarters of the board is made up of Guyanese directors.

“Bourbon Guyana thus becomes the first indigenous offshore support vessels (OSV) operator, fully compliant with the most recent local content regulations,” Bourbon said.

The venture will operate with a fleet of six ships comprising platform supply vessels, anchor-handling tug supply tonnage and tugs.

Bourbon has been operating in Guyana since 2019, working with ExxonMobil and Saipem Guyana to develop the Stabroek field.

The French owner has promoted local employment, with more than 70 Guyanese seafarers on its vessels.

Rodolphe Bouchet, chief executive of Bourbon Marine & Logistics, said the new partnership “represents a tremendous opportunity to strengthen our current position in Guyana”.

“Through this operation, Bourbon becomes a ‘Guyanese’ company in-country with a local majority shareholder. This is a very important aspect for us, as we always want to include local content in the territories in which we are present,” he added.

Visions in alignment

Jaikerran Persaud, CEO of Tethys Marine, said the two sides share the same culture.

“Our visions for the future of the industry in Guyana are aligned. It is very important for Bourbon Guyana to consolidate its leadership position in this promising territory,” he added.

Bourbon has a fleet of 285 vessels and operates in more than 30 countries.

In January, French broker BRS Group said suezmax tankers could be set for a further boost from Guyana exports as US oil producer Hess eyes a seventh production platform in its waters.

The oil company announced that favourable drilling results could lift Guyana’s crude output beyond the expected 1.2m barrels per day (bpd).

The country has been one of the success stories of the past few years in terms of oil supply and crude tanker demand growth.

Guyana is now producing around 370,000 bpd of crude, all of which is exported by ships.

Last month, TradeWinds reported that Bourbon’s shareholding banks were looking to sell the company following a takeover and restructuring in 2019.

The group has had a confidential document drawn up to entice buyers, industry sources told TradeWinds.

The Project Alcyone paper, seen by TradeWinds, outlines a €1bn ($1.05bn) “repositioning” plan up to 2027, including more than €500m of fleet renewal and a focus on floating offshore wind operations.

Bourbon is owned by a group of French banks called Societe Phoceenne de Participations (SPP).