Mar 09, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Kaieteur News, along with other transparency advocates, has been calling for the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) government to release records on oil reports dating back to the beginning of oil production.
Notably, those records would assist in the conduct of independent studies on the oil revenue and what Guyana is set to collect from the sector. However, agencies like the Oil & Gas Governance Network (OGGN) and other transparency advocates, like Dr. Tulsi Singh, continue to work with insufficient data and records from the government.
Now, Attorney-at-Law and transparency advocate, Christopher Ram, is adding his voice in the calls for the government to show the willingness to share those same records. In a March 8 letter, Ram said, “Unfortunately, and disappointingly, despite its promises, our own Government has not demonstrated any willingness to disclose, leaving us to guess what the cost of production is likely to be, and the composition of that cost.”
He continued, “Guyanese are once again left to indulge in unnecessary speculation over basic facts concerning the sector. Exxon must be feeling comfortable and reassured while the unease of Guyanese continues.”
Kaieteur News had reported that OGGN was banking on oil reports for independent analysis.
Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, had committed during a February 9 press conference, that the government would make the reports available to the press. Three weeks later, the press does not have access to these reports and Kaieteur News has been given the royal run around in its attempts to access them.
“We need the production data to make the proper calculations,” OGGN had said in a comment shared with this newspaper. The oil & gas governance pressure group, like other transparency advocates, is banking on the reports to make accurate calculations of Guyana’s royalty and profit share from the sale of its crude.
Dr. Jagdeo had encouraged reporters to request the documents, but OGGN had noted a recent Kaieteur News report, which pointed to the law requiring the publication of its crudes.
Article 42 of the Natural Resource Fund Act states, “The Minister shall publish on the website of the Ministry and generally make available to the public… (c) The monthly reports within seven working days after they have been submitted to the Minister by the Bank…”
OGGN insists that it should be the Guyana government that releases the reports, rather than having the public rely on ExxonMobil’s local subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL).
“Asking Exxon to help with the calculation is like asking the fox to count the number of chickens in the coop,” it said.
The group noted that the most recent oil report dates back to January 2020. The report was published by the Ministry of Finance, under the previous administration.
Former Finance Minister, Winston Jordan’s ‘Report on Petroleum Production and Revenues’ states, “These reports will allow the public to monitor deposits in, and withdrawals from, the NRF so as to ensure that petroleum revenues are being managed according to the provisions of the NRF Act 2019.”
“Such transparency is important,” the Former Minister’s report had stated, “given the magnitude of revenues that will be generated from this resource.”
The detailed report included information on production, sales and Guyana’s entitlement, and transfers to the NRF.
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