Jan 11, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – “He is insulting our collective intelligence” was the response given by Environmentalist Annette Arjoon-Martins to the recent utterances by Alliance For Change (AFC) General Secretary and Shadow Oil and Gas Minister David Patterson on the Coalition turned Opposition’s support for the renegotiation of the lopsided Stabroek Block deal.
Even though it was the coalition that signed off on the widely criticised agreement with oil giant ExxonMobil, Patterson on a recent platform had given assurances that the Coalition would lend its support to the governing People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) should it wish to renegotiate the deal.
But his remarks did not sit well with the Environmentalist who stated that the Coalition had the opportunity to secure more beneficial terms for Guyana when it signed the deal in 2016.
“He is insulting our collective intelligence even further when he claims that the Opposition will support any changes where Guyana can benefit more, knowing fully well that his government had the opportunity to do so in 2016 but chose to do the exact opposite,” Arjoon-Martins commented.
Further on, she posited that “it is quite disingenuous and barefaced” for the Shadow Oil and Gas Minister to brush aside comments regarding the “vexing issue of the contract and the continued narrative of who is responsible for its contents.”
This, Arjoon-Martins added, was done whilst being “fully aware” that the then governing Coalition renegotiated the 1999 contract with Exxon, adding in unfavourable terms such as the stabilization clause and allowing Exxon to “self-insure”.
Patterson stated that during the Coalition’s five-year tenure in office, it never got the chance to correct the poor provisions in the deal.
However, it was Global Witness that revealed that the then Natural Resource Minister, Raphael Trotman ignored expert advice on multiple occasions and had signed the agreement away in a short period.
Global Witness said too that Guyana left US$55 billion on the table because of its failure to secure a fair deal. The 2016 Stabroek Block deal has received much flak since the details were made public however, AFC leader, Khemraj Ramjattan coined it as one of the best decisions the Coalition has ever made.
The contract was kept from the public for a year and a half after its signing. Even worse was the fact that the Coalition had kept secret as well, the fact that it had received a signing bonus from ExxonMobil totaling US$18 million.
The deal also contained many sub-standard provisions, crafted in such ways that Guyana would suffer significant value leakage. These include Guyana paying Exxon’s billions of dollars in taxes; pre-contract costs discrepancies; unspecified interest rates expensed to Guyana for loans to the oil entities; weak environmental standards; Guyana’s inability to control the amount of oil being produced; and infrastructure cost anomalies between the Liza One and Liza Two Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels.
With a comprehensive comparative analysis done of Guyana’s Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) with ExxonMobil against that of others, it turns out that out of over 130 PSAs this newspaper would have examined, Guyana’s is in a class of its own.
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