Aug 13, 2020 News Comments Off on Payara on hold – awaiting expert review – Pres. Ali
President Irfaan Ali has informed Kaieteur News that his government is in the process of securing an expert to conduct a review of the Payara Field Development Plan (FDP).
This means that previous plans to decide on the project by August month’s end have been put on hold.
The government had sought the assistance of the Canadian High Commission to find such an expert.
Speaking with Kaieteur News about this development, Good Governance advocate, Dr. Jan Mangal, said that the review requires a team of experts, not a single one.
He added that these reviews can take months, even years, as there tends to be discussion between the reviewers and the oil company on all the important issues.
Mangal said that if the government approves the development after mere months, then the people will know that the government did not challenge anything substantial to benefit Guyana.
The President noted that he has met with the various local stakeholders, with a view of determining what work has already been done on the project.
A UK firm, Bayphase Limited, had been hired last year to evaluate the plan.
ExxonMobil, meanwhile, had started preparations for development of the Payara field more than nine months ago. Despite receiving no approval from government, the company is actively funding the construction of the Liza Unity Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, meant to produce as much as 220,000 barrels of oil per day.
It is clear that the company has bet a lot on Guyana and is attempting to pressure the country into permitting a plan it has not sufficiently scrutinized.
The multi-national has attempted to convince the Guyana government that a delay in approval of the project beyond this month-end would result in billions in losses for Guyana. This is evidenced by statements made by the company’s Senior Vice President, Neil Chapman, during its recent Q2 earnings call.
Experts disagree with Exxon’s call for swift approval, and have advised Guyana to take all the time it needs to ensure the FDP is robust.
Guyana has been advised by Dr. Mangal to ensure it renegotiates the Stabroek Block agreement before it approves any further project.
Mangal told this newspaper that the previous government hired inadequate and unknown personnel. So, in this case, he expects that the Guyanese public is shown proof that the persons hired are all qualified (via resumes and track record). The public would have ample opportunity, in such a scenario, to background these individuals and ensure they are sufficient for the job, and not beholden to oil companies.
Mangal added that if the Payara review is mishandled, then Canada as the sponsor will look bad, “and Guyana will be damaged even further.”
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