The Government of Guyana has pre-sold to Shell Western Supply and Trading Limited, three cargoes of oil from the Stabroek Block. The first sale was in mid-February and Guyana had collected almost US$55M. Apart from how much was received and deposited into the Natural Resource Fund and who it was sold to, not much else has been said about the sale. In fact, the agreement itself has not been made public, which resulted in calls from civil society as well as the media for more transparency.
Upon noting this, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has sought to remind Guyana of its obligations as a member that committed to observing its rules. The body noted that EITI implementing countries are to disclose sales agreements related to the State’s share of production or other revenues collected in kind.
EITI said there is a clear opportunity for Guyana’s EITI chapter to play a role in shedding light on this issue, through collaboration with the EITI International Secretariat and its work on commodity trading transparency. It also sought to remind that the Energy Department had given a commitment to share data on oil production and trades for the preparation for the country’s second EITI Report. In the interest of accountability, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative said it is important that the data on these agreements are made public.
The international corruption watchdog also said that the public disclosure of information on the sale agreements such as the identity of the buyer, committed annual and monthly oil volumes to be bought and sold, the price to be paid and mechanisms for price adjustment, are critical to public oversight.
Additionally, EITI said that open data is crucial to monitor revenues and how they are spent. Especially in times like these, when sharp declines in oil prices upend entire economies, the body said that the need for transparency is as salient as ever. EITI said too that transparency on commodity trading agreements will enable the citizens of Guyana to hold companies and its government accountable as they execute important transactions that significantly impact public revenues.
It said that Guyana’s authorities should ensure the country’s revenues are managed responsibly and sustainably while adding that it should remain high on the political agenda.
“The country’s economic prosperity and the livelihood of its present and future citizens depend on it,” the group noted.
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