Aug 13, 2020 News Comments Off on Exxon says it spent over US$70M on local content for first half but provides no evidence
– Guyana to foot the bill
By Kiana Wilburg
American oil giant, ExxonMobil, disclosed yesterday that it has spent over $14 billion on hiring and training Guyanese men and women as well as in the procurement of local services to support its operations here.
Even as it supplied selected information about its spending which includes costs incurred by its sub-contractors, it provided not a shred of evidence to support its claims.
At the end of the day, it is Guyanese who will have to foot this $14 billion dollar bill along with the unaudited $45 billion the company has said it spent from 2015 to 2019.
In a statement to the press yesterday, the company said more than 2,000 Guyanese are supporting its operations, representing 55 percent of the total workforce.
What ExxonMobil failed to show, however, was a breakdown of the job description, salaries, and even the plans in place to increase this workforce by more than 55 percent.
In fact, no data was provided for the public to analyze if there was any progression in the employment of Guyanese to senior positions from 2015 to now.
With regard to capacity building, ExxonMobil said that this is an ongoing process for its own operations as well as for its direct contractors, with more than 100,000 hours of training provided to Guyanese staff as of the first half of 2020.
The American oil giant said that 80 percent was in the areas of Professional/Technical and Craft/Trade Training while noting that more than 50 Guyanese have trained internationally in countries such as Brazil, Canada, Singapore, Trinidad, United Arab Emirates and United States, to gain hands on oil and gas experience to leverage in Guyana.
Here again, ExxonMobil fails to disclose to the public, the evidence that this training did take place, as well as how this capacity building will translate to the use of Guyanese for senior positions within its operations.
Since ExxonMobil began operations in 2015, the company has kept away from scrutiny, its local content reports which would expose just how seriously it takes capacity building.
As for the local businesses it has used for the first half of the year, ExxonMobil said more than 600 Guyanese suppliers were used for services.
These “services” included the procurement of “food stuff” and “engineering” works.
Again, the company provided no breakdown of the names of companies it used for the first half of 2020. The only time ExxonMobil ever released the list of companies it claimed to have used for its local content efforts was back in June 2018.
The company had claimed that it had used over 300 Guyanese registered companies to supply services.
In response to calls for evidence of same, a list was provided. Upon examination, however, it was founded that ExxonMobil padded its list with the names of places like Bourda Market, Haags Bosch Dumpsite, Royal Castle, Bounty Supermarket, Metro Office and Computer Supplies, Star Party Rentals, and Shanta’s Roti Shop. It listed utility companies such as the Guyana Power and Light and the Guyana Revenue Authority as part of its local content efforts too.
Persons were also listed as registered companies. They included: Sonia Noel, Chontelle Sewett, Andron Alphonso and Mokesh Daby.
As part of its statement yesterday, ExxonMobil claimed that the Centre for Local Business Development, which is located on South Road, has remained supportive of local businesses with a transition to virtual courses.
No evidence or report of any kind was provided to confirm this. Additionally, ExxonMobil said that the centre continued mentorship of 10 Guyanese companies in the process to be compliant in the ISO 9001 quality management system. Those names were not released.
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