Guyanese businesses will have a chance to network and learn from leaders in the oil and gas industry at the inaugural Guyana International Petroleum Business Summit (GIPEX).GIPEX 2018 is being hosted by the Natural Resources Ministry from February 7-9. At a launch on Wednesday at the Marriott Hotel, subject Minister Raphael Trotman noted Guyana “is about to take off”.“We are providing a platform and an opportunity for all of those who speak about local content and the desire to see more of it, to actually shake hands and to actually touch the Schlumbergers and the others who do this and have been doing this for the last 10 and five decades,” Minister Trotman pointed out.Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman addressing the gathering at the launch on Wednesday at the Marriott HotelThe three-day summit will see some 50 local and international companies participating in the event, which is being coordinated by Valiant Business Media. Managing Director Shariq Abdul Hai noted that some 350 to 400 executives and high-level industry leaders were expected to be in attendance.Hai pointed out that while the Government was a partner in coordinating the event, the cost was being fully covered by the Private Sector. ExxonMobil is the lead sponsor of the summit. Hai noted that sponsors will be subsidising the cost to allow local businesses to participate in the summit.The Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest) is the lead organiser for the Government. CEO Owen Verwey also reiterated that the summit provided an opportunity for local businesses to benefit from joint ventures with international companies as well as gain knowledge from the workshops and panel discussions that will be held during the summit.GIPEX 2018 aims to promote Guyana’s oil and gas sector while exposing local businesses to the industry’s best practices. Areas that will be covered during the conference include using oil to remain green; overcoming challenges and supporting the growth of independent, indigenous producers and service providers, and providing Government priorities relating to the petroleum industry to provide insight into opportunities available in the future.On the final day of the summit, there will be an exhibition, which is open to the public. Meanwhile, Business Minister Dominic Gaskin noted that the summit was an opportunity for the Government and the Private Sector to showcase Guyana as a business destination.