It took almost 18 months for the Production-Sharing Agreement, between Exxon Mobil and the Government of Guyana, to be made public. That is a long time and the release only came after intense pressure and reports about the abysmal rate of royalty.
One of the excuses which was made for the non-disclosure of the contract was that it had to do with the situation in Venezuela. Somebody needs to explain to me how the releasing the details of the contract would have prejudiced whatever moves the government was making at the time as regards the territorial dispute.
It is not as if there was any denial that there was an agreement. And so if there was no denial, what could have been preventing the government from making the agreement public.
A senior local official of ExxonMobil is on the public record as saying that Exxon was not the least worried about the Venezuela territorial dispute. So why then should the Guyana government have used the Venezuela issue as an excuse not to make public the production-sharing agreement it had with the oil multinational and her partners.
The contract was signed in June 2016. It was not made public until December 2017 and only after relentless public pressure led by this newspaper. Ever since then, there has been criticisms about the terms of the contract. It is therefore not true to state that the criticisms of the contract coincide with the approach to elections; the contract was deemed rotten more than two years ago.
The Production-Sharing Agreement was signed by a Minister who said that he was ordered to so. He did not state, nor was he asked by the media, who ordered him to sign. But why state ‘ordered’? Why did he not state that he was ‘authorised’ to sign the agreement?
The Minister who signed the contract said that Guyana should have gotten a better deal considering that the reserves in the Stabroek Block alone are more than 6 billion barrels. Exxon has since said that the reserves could be eight billion barrels.
One analyst has calculated that it could be high as 15 billion barrels, which is another way of saying that the oil cannot be exhausted within the next thirty years.
Not only was the oil contract with Exxon kept secret but so too was the signing bonus. It was only as a result of the sustained probing by this newspaper that the government eventually relented and confessed that it did receive a signing bonus. This was after there was a vehement denial and later on the claim that there was the presumption that the monies paid was a gift to the government.
We are not sure as yet what other secrets are buried. We do not know if any more surprises are in store.
The government announced the start of oil production last December. No evidence was produced in the days that followed to prove that oil was being pumped. It was only after this column began to demand that some evidence be provided to the Guyanese people that a photograph was shown of dark liquid in a bottle, presumably oil.
A bash was then thrown at the Marriott Hotel. The bigwigs were wined and dined while the masses were pissed on with a fireworks display.
And still the secrecy continues. Not a word as yet on the daily output of oil produced since the start of production. Not a word about the quality of the product.
Against this background, there should be a full Commission of Inquiry into the signing of the contract. This would establish both a moral and legal basis for the annulment of the contract if it is found that the contract was signed without the expressed knowledge of the President or the Cabinet.
Sep 28, 2020Vice President (ag) of the East Coast Cricket Committee Lalta Gainda said elections must be held on the East Coast of Demerara before any election is being staged at the Demerara Cricket Board level....
Sep 27, 2020
Sep 27, 2020
Sep 27, 2020
Sep 27, 2020
Sep 26, 2020
By Sir Ronald Sanders Of all the fanciful reasons imputed to the decision of the government to make Barbados a Republic,... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]