By Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell
Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo thinks it would not take much effort from an oil company to make rings around the APNU+AFC government. Jagdeo firmly believes that the government is incompetent. He said Government’s ineptitude is most glaring in the way it is going about sharing and preparing Guyana for an oil and gas industry.
Jagdeo made several points during his recent press conference to show how he arrived at this conclusion.
The politician pointed to the fact that the government is still to come to grips with the intricacies of a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF). Jagdeo also pointed to the fact that while Guyana is fast approaching first oil, there is still no final Local Content Policy, “and we have seen the sort of definition they have for local content.”
Jagdeo also said that government exhibited its incompetence when it accepted the US$460M pre-contract cost from ExxonMobil without even conducting a simple audit.
The Opposition leader highlighted too, that the government does not seem to know its head from its foot when it comes to other gas-related issues.
He said that when he met with ExxonMobil representatives, he posed some questions about gas that the company refused to answer. He said that ExxonMobil told him that the company is yet to carry out a study.
“Trotman says he is very benevolent and very, you know, a great person, a religious man. He asked ExxonMobil to meet with me to give me a briefing. So I must, you know, pay homage to Trotman for that mercy. Well, the thing is, I think I met ExxonMobil about three times in the past three years,” said Jagdeo.
However, the Opposition Leader said that he wasted no time at the few meetings and sought to get real answers for pressing issues in the embryonic oil and gas industry.
Jagdeo was keen to note that unlike certain government ministers who, he said did not adequately represent Guyana, “When I come to a meeting I am not a dodo.”
The Opposition Leader said that during his second meeting with Exxon Mobil, he asked if a study was done to determine what would be the value in terms of bringing gas to shore as opposed to having it re-injected into the wells
He said, “One time they brought in the big team… I asked if they studied the value in terms of incremental oil that we can get from pumping the gas.”
Jagdeo said he asked whether that value of rejecting the gas could be compared with bringing all the gas onshore to be developed, “not only for power but for downstream industries for exports.”
Jagdeo revealed, “They (ExxonMobil officials) said they did not do this comparison. I am not even sure if government asked about the comparison, because that is how you approach these issues…I get worked up when I talk about this, because we are squandering because of incompetence, we are squandering this patrimony. We worked hard to get to this stage. It could be transformative, but because of uselessness we are squandering everything.”
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