Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, had promised the media to ensure that all other oil contracts will be revealed.
At a press conference on January 25, last, at his Brickdam Office, Trotman promised that at least two of the contracts would have been released by the end of January. It is now February and no other contract has since been made public. Further, Trotman has neglected to return to the media citing a reason for the delay or change of plans.
ExxonMobil is on record saying that it wants a level playing field to be created and thinks that all other contract should be published.
At his last press conference, Trotman said that letters have been sent out to the oil companies and none of them objected to the desired level of transparency at that point.
“The responses received so far have been that there is no objection to the release and so we are aiming to begin posting more contracts at the end of this month. Hopefully, we will get two up by next week,” Trotman told reporters.
He noted that while the Ministry is starting with oil companies. The programme will be expanded to all companies in the natural resources sector.
Trotman had previously stated that the website developed by the Government to publish its contract with ExxonMobil, will be used to disclose the others.
In addition to ExxonMobil and its joint venture partners Hess and CNOOC Nexen, oil companies operating concessions in Guyana include; Canadian-based CGX Energy Inc., Repsol, Tullow Oil, Eco Atlantic, JHI Associates Inc. and Ratio Oil Exploration. Total also recently joined the local industry.
Initially, Government did not want to release the ExxonMobil contract. But it soon bowed to public pressure.
Dr. David Hinds, Dr Troy Thomas and Christopher Ram had all constantly advocated for the release of the contract that was inked between ExxonMobil and the APNU+AFC government.
They had expressed satisfaction when government finally decided to issue the contract.
Ram said that Guyana will be joining a growing list of countries which make their extractive contracts and licences public.
Ram said that a report titled, Past the Tipping Point, published earlier this year by Natural Resource Governance Institute and written by Don Hubert and Rob Pitman concluded that it is becoming increasingly normal for member countries of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to disclose the contracts and licences that lay out the terms for resource exploitation.
There are twenty countries which have no legal obligation to disclose and which do not disclose. Among those are Norway, Germany and Trinidad and Tobago.
In total, of the 51 countries covered by the review, 29 disclose at least some of these agreements, while several more are taking concrete steps to join their ranks.
Ram noted that there were an additional ten Governments not selected for study, but which are also disclosing, bringing the global figure to an impressive 39 countries. While Guyana’s interest in extractive industry (EI) disclosures has been piqued by petroleum contracts, the review covered not only petroleum countries but mining companies as well.
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