Over the last five years, international experts have advised Guyana to never rely solely on information provided by oil companies. In fact, oil-producing nations are encouraged to conduct independent audits and data collection done by reputable experts.
Trinidadian Local Content Expert and Energy Strategist, Anthony Paul, stressed the importance of this in a rapid assessment he did for Guyana. It appears, however, that Guyana did not heed these pieces of advice.
In spite of the concerns raised by the media, the Energy Department in 2019 hired a UK company called Bayphase Consultants to undertake the review of ExxonMobil’s Field Development Plan (FDP).
Kaieteur News subsequently exposed that the firm hired is listed as ExxonMobil’s client and its contracting to undertake the review, which represents a conflict of interest. This fact was totally ignored by the then government.
Instead of retendering this job in pursuit of a client that is not linked to ExxonMobil, the PPP/C administration has now chosen to review the work done by Bayphase. To do this, the new government made use of a Canadian grant.
That money saw the former Premier of Alberta, Alison Redford, being commissioned to lead a team of experts to conduct the review. This newspaper later exposed that Redford comes with a questionable background. In fact, she was forced to demit office in 2014 after it was found that she improperly spent taxpayers’ money.
Even though Bayphase and Redford were hired to protect Guyana’s interest and plug loopholes in the FDP, it is one of our own who, based on experience in the industry and his independent research, who identified two major issues in the FDP.
Head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr. Vincent Adams, was the one who pointed out that there are glaring environmental issues which ExxonMobil wants the nation to ignore. ExxonMobil wants to have provisions in place for burning gas which releases over 250 toxic chemicals into the atmosphere as well as to dump toxic wastes into the ocean.
Had Guyana commissioned independent studies and made use of experts not affiliated with ExxonMobil, perhaps more than what Dr. Adams observed could have been unearthed.
Guyana is allowing itself to be guided by the information presented by the client of ExxonMobil and reviewed by Redford who has no experience in reviewing FDPs.
When will we learn Guyana?
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