Three and a half years after Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL)—the Contractor for the Stabroek Block—and its partners committed to providing the Ministry of the Presidency (MotP) with US$300,000 each calendar year, for ‘Corporate Social Projects,’ the Department of Energy (DoE), is still to tap into the fund.
Department of Energy Director, Dr. Mark Bynoe, in a brief interview with this publication this past week confirmed that no projects have been funded as yet from the money provided by the Contractor for the Environmental and Social Projects.
He did indicate that there are currently two projects in the pipeline that are being evaluated for approval shortly, but declined to provide any further details.
According to Dr. Bynoe, Government had decided that the projects to be funded under the CSR Account would have to be aligned with the administration’s Green State Development Strategy (GSDS).
Under the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) inked between the Government of Guyana, EEPGL, Hess Guyana Exploration Guyana and CNOOC-Nexen Petroleum Guyana, “the Minister and contractor shall establish a program of financial support for environmental and social projects to be funded by the Contractor.”
Under Article 28 of the PSA which deals with Social Responsibility and Protection of the Environment, “The Contactor shall directly fund” the amount of $300,000 per calendar year with any funded but unspent portion of the amount being carried over to ensuing years.
Article 28.7 of the PSA stipulates that the Minister and the Contractor shall meet annually to agree which projects shall be funded in a year.
Dr. Bynoe subsequently—on Friday last—told residents of the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine) community that the oil operators provide US$300,000 annually, in fulfillment of their corporate social responsibility, from which funds can be drawn to finance community projects.
He said “to date, Guyana has about US$900,000 sitting, waiting to be spent on community-type projects. All that we have asked is that those projects be aligned with the Government’s development strategy so it is up to us to come up with initiatives… If [there is] a sustainable livelihood project that you want to pursue for your community, you can engage with us; we can provide you with advice, we can provide you with the template and help you to develop a project which can ultimately be funded,” he said.
He urged particularly the youth of the region to draft community development plans for their respective villages, in order to benefit from the opportunities and revenues that will emerge from the petroleum sector.
Dr. Bynoe made the statements during an Interactive Session on Oil and Gas, which was hosted on Friday in the St. Ignatius Benab.
Residents from several villages, including Lethem, Aranaputa Valley, Aishalton, Surama and Nappi participated. Additionally, over 150 students from the St. Ignatius Secondary School, accompanied by five teachers; 53 students from the Arapaima Primary School, accompanied by two teachers and 35 students from the St. Ignatius Primary School, accompanied by their teacher, also participated in the session.
He reminded that, “one of the things I keep saying is let’s [put] plans in place because funds will …go into the Natural Resources Fund. A portion then goes to the Consolidated Fund. Now from that Consolidated Fund is where your spending will come so if you are able to make representation, to show [that] you have a strategic vision of where you wish to take your village, your region, your community that will be [considered],” he said.
Additionally ExxonMobil is said to have already provided more than $550M during 2018 and 2019, including $400M given to Conservation International Guyana, for a program to advance Guyana’s sustainable economy through education, research, sustainable management and conservation.
Other social contributions made by ExxonMobil includes a $120M grant to Iwokrama for the Centre’s Science Programme; $31M given to Volunteer Youth Corps for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs; including robotics.
The company has also provided a number of grants to agencies such as Civil Defence Commission’s Voluntary Emergency Response Team (VERT) training, supporting volunteers across the regions and $5M given to Youth Challenge Guyana (YCG) supporting a programme to enhance the agricultural food production skills.
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In its Wednesday, December 4 issue, the International Business Times, with the caption, “Guyana on the Brink of Unimaginable... more
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