The Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) has heightened security checks at both major ports of entry – the Eugene F Correira International Airport (Ogle, East Coast Demerara) and the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (Timehri, East Bank Demerara) – to tackle any attempts to smuggle narcotics.According to head of CANU, Michael Atherly, the Guyana Police Force and Unit are working collectively to clamp down on traffickers.Atherly noted that during the end of year holiday season, it is compulsory that heightened security operations take full effect since there is a larger number of travellers.“We work with the threats and currently we (CANU) are constantly accessing the threats. If we find that the threat is going to increase over the Christmas period, of course we will have to heighten the level of checks that we do at airports”.However, the CANU head noted that the number of drug trafficking cases have increased. As such, he explained that plans are already in place to tackle this occurrence.“Even though there is a small amount of drugs coming in, the most serious threat is drugs going out and that’s what we are going to concentrate on,” Atherly explained.Only recently, while positing that a lot more work needs to be done, outgoing United States Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway, has lauded efforts by drug enforcement agencies, both local and foreign, for trying to put a dent in the illegal narcotics trade in Guyana.Being positioned on the South American continent with strong ties to the Caribbean region, Guyana has long been identified as a transshipment point for major drug trafficking activities. It was against this backdrop that the US established a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) office here.During a recent interview with a group of local journalists ahead of his formal departure today, after serving his three-year tenure, Ambassador Holloway asserted that it was too early to gage the success of the DEA here but noted that more positive results can be expected in the coming years.He noted that the DEA has done a great job in Guyana.“I think in the next two or three years, you are going to see a lot more positive actions coming from your law enforcement entities and them cooperating with international law enforcement,” the US Diplomat stated.One of those developments the former Ambassador spoke about is the arrest of Guyanese hotelier, Shervington “Big Head” Lovell, who was arrested in Jamaica last month for narcotics trafficking. He was recently extradited to the US where he faced additional charges.According to reports, Lovell, who is the owner of Hotel Tower on Main Street, Georgetown, was arraigned before a Magistrate in a New York Court and pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to violate Maritime Drug Enforcement Law.Nevertheless, Lovell’s arrest, Ambassador Holloway posited, was as a result of collaboration between the DEA office and local law enforcement agencies such as the Guyana Police Force and CANU.
CALGARY — While some European and U.S. companies cut their exposure to the Canadian oilsands, China’s Big Three oil giants — CNOOC, PetroChina and Sinopec — seem content to let their bets ride even if the results haven’t been spectacular.In 2018, PetroChina produced an average of just 7,300 barrels per day of bitumen from its MacKay River thermal oilsands project, although it was designed to produce 35,000 bpd. In June, its output was about 8,700 bpd.The Beijing-based company paid $1.9 billion in 2009 for 60 per cent interests in the proposed MacKay River and Dover oilsands projects being developed by Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. (now just Athabasca Oil Corp.), then bought out the rest of MacKay for $680 million in 2012 and Dover for $1.2 billion in 2014.- Advertisement -“MacKay River is located in an area with complex geology, which creates challenges to heat up the reservoir to get the bitumen flowing,” said spokesman Davis Sheremata in an emailed statement.The company is drilling new wells and experimenting with various technologies to boost output, he said, adding a go-ahead for Dover has been put on hold until MacKay proves itself.Still, “PetroChina Canada is committed to Canada for the long-term, having maintained its investments through economically challenging times.”Advertisement CNOOC produced about 71,000 bpd from the oilsands in 2018, little changed from 66,800 bpd in 2014, shortly after it spent $15.1 billion to buy Calgary’s Nexen Energy and its diverse portfolio of domestic and international assets.“Our oilsands assets are an important part of our North American portfolio and we remain committed to our Canadian operations,” CNOOC spokesman Kyle Glennie wrote in a brief email.Meanwhile, Sinopec paid $4.65 billion to buy a nine per cent stake in the Syncrude oilsands mining consortium from ConocoPhillips in 2010 and its resulting production has been steady since, registering just over 27,000 bpd in 2018.The Chinese energy majors employ “patient capital” and it seems unlikely they will leave the oilsands anytime soon, said Jia Wang, deputy director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta.Advertisement “The assets they bought may not be the most profitable or may require more capital intensive development. … (but) these are large Chinese companies, they’re not likely to become bankrupt,” she said.“They have been through thick and thin, and different cycles of boom and bust. These (oilsands) operations in the grand scheme of these massive companies are not the largest chunk of their business so they can afford to have a presence here without incurring too much loss.” Companies in this story: (TSX:ATH)Dan Healing, The Canadian Press