The saga of oil exploration and speculation prior to May 2015 cannot be rewritten to suit our nation’s happy ending. Suffice to say many tried and failed to find oil in commercial quantity, most notably Shell which walked away from the same block now estimated to hold over five billion barrels in reserves. Shell accepted one dollar for those exploration rights in what must be in hindsight, the worst deal since the Dutch traded New Amsterdam, Berbice for New York!
Dr. Jan Mangal ascribes knowledge of oil reserves to former President Donald Ramotar and Minister of Natural Resources at a time (April 2015) that would land ExxonMobil in hot water with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for failure to report an event that would have major impact on the price of the company’s publicly traded stock (XOM) on the New York Stock Exchange. If ExxonMobil informed anyone of the discovery before making a public announcement, it would have opened the company to the serious charge of enabling Insider Trading. I am sure ExxonMobil will speak to this allegation now that is made clear. The SEC, which regulates the securities markets and facilitates capital formation, would certainly be interested in any legitimate, independent finding which provides irrefutable evidence of collaboration between those senior figures in the Guyana government and ExxonMobil. The impact of such findings would reverberate throughout the business world on a global scale and include billions in fines for ExxonMobil and possible jail time for executives of that company.
Editor, while we should not rewrite the pre-discovery period, we can certainly take a closer look at the actions of Dr. Jan Mangal who acted as adviser to the Government of Guyana during the Production Sharing Agreement negotiation period. Strangely, during that period, Dr. Mangal was an unknown man, he was not making public statements nor was he having much success impacting the negotiations. When all the dust was settled, Guyana did not emerge with a great deal on the Liza1 PSA, shortly thereafter another Mangal made oil news; Mr. Lars Mangal, Chairman, President and CEO of TOTALTEC Oilfield Services Ltd , a newly established company focused on the Guyana oil and gas industry, with the stated vision of “contributing to the development of the oil and gas industry in Guyana by providing technical support, engineering, partnerships and consultancy services to the local community, government and international operators and service companies in Guyana.” Surprisingly, this new company was able to secure the crown jewel of the ExxonMobil contracts, namely provision of the major Shore-base services to ExxonMobil.
Dr. Jan Mangal is quick to throw his thoughts on possible corruption into the public domain; I too have some questions that I would like to ask in the public interest:
1. Did Dr. Jan Mangal inform the Government of Guyana that his brother was bidding for
2. If so, what action was taken by the Government of Guyana to ensure sensitive information was not passed on deliberately or inadvertently.
3. Did Dr. Jan Mangal do anything to assist Totaltec in its negotiations?
4. Did any action/inaction on Dr. Jan Mangal’s part affect the outcome of the PSA negotiations?
5. What were the reasons for the non-renewal of Dr. Jan Mangal’s contract as Advisor on Petroleum to President Granger?
I look forward to full explanations and examination of the obvious conflict of issues that existed with Dr. Jan Mangal, his role as consultant and the relationship of his brother’s company to ExxonMobil for it is here I must paraphrase Shakespeare ‘the man doth protest too much” and my every instinct suggests that the conscience bothers.
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