Ordinary Guyanese who do not fullyunderstand the fiscal regime of Guyana’s deal with oil giant, ExxonMobil might get excited each time a new discovery is made. On the other hand, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo indicates that he cringes.
Yesterday, ExxonMobil announced another find offshore Guyana. The discovery of approximately 197 feet (60 metres) of high-quality, oil-bearing sandstone reservoir at the Hammerhead-1 is the ninth discovery of oil in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana and the fifth within the last year.
There was a bit of silence from Jagdeo yesterday while speaking about the find. When he began speaking again, he said, “It drifts me off when I think about how much we are losing. It trips me a bit.”
Even though ExxonMobil is already at its ninth discovery, the company is far from exploring most of the Stabroek, which it has control of.
Jagdeo said that it is rather unfortunate that all these discoveries being made are falling under that same contract that most right thinking people have concluded is stacked in the interest of ExxonMobil.
“This ninth discovery will be processed through the same old contract…The thing is that the President has no clear position. When I told him of my concerns, he said that they are strengthening and so moving forward. No specific answers to my questions. I hope you have better luck.”
Jagdeo continued, “I did not get any clear answer but he said that they have just hired somebody to strengthen the department.”
Further, Jagdeo said that during his meeting with the President yesterday, “I raised the issue about the confusion that the government itself said no future contract would be negotiated on the same terms as ExxonMobil. But they are yet to define to the country what the new terms will be.”
Jagdeo told the media that the Opposition is very concerned that while the government declared that it will ensure better terms, “they are proceeding to give the exact same terms that ExxonMobil got through side approaches. You recall our position in the (National Assembly) when that proposal was made to give Mid-Atlantic some similar concessions.”
Jagdeo recalled that the PPP’s position was to defer the handing out of the concession until the framework for future negotiations was arrived at.
Jagdeo said he “asked the President directly, ‘are you going to be tendering future blocks’ but the President did not give any straight answer.
“He agrees that we now have more people who want blocks than we have available. This is the reverse of what we had in the past. I said to him, the only way we can avoid middle men creaming the benefits is to go to tender – auction, so the money will accrue directly to the people, the taxpayers.”
But, according to Jagdeo, the President still could not give perspective on the way forward.
The Guyana reserve is one of ExxonMobil’s biggest assets worldwide.
Discoveries of approximately four billion oil-equivalent barrels were made on the Stabroek Block prior to yesterday’s announcement. Discoveries were made at Liza, Liza Deep, Payara, Snoek, Turbot, Ranger, Pacora and Longtail with the potential for up to five floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels producing more than 750,000 barrels per day by 2025. Prior to Hammerhead-1, which is located approximately 13 miles (21 kilometres) southwest of the Liza-1.
A second exploration vessel, the Noble Tom Madden, is due to arrive in Guyana in October to accelerate exploration of high potential opportunities and will commence drilling at the Pluma prospect, approximately 17 miles (27 kilometres) from Turbot.
The Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometres). ExxonMobil affiliate, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited, is the operator and holds 45 percent interest in the Stabroek Block.
Hess Guyana Exploration Limited holds 30 percent interest and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited holds 25 percent interest.
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