May 04, 2021 News
…as ExxonMobil tells stakeholders to ask Govt.—TIGI
Transparency International Guyana Incorporated (TIGI) — the Local Chapter for the anti corruption international watchdog body — is lamenting the refusal on the part of government and oil operator, ExxonMobil, to provide basic information on the local oil operations.
TIGI has since publicly expressed its disappointment at the stakeholder’s failure to provide the requested information in light of the fact that the oil operator would have directed further requests to the Guyana government.
The position being adumbrated by TIGI, according to its Secretary, Alfred Bhulai, runs counter to public commitments made during a stakeholder meeting in February last, where Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited’s (EEPGL), Chief Executive Officer, Alistair Routledge, said they “wanted to be transparent and accountable.”
Lamenting the state of affairs, the TIGI Secretary said that after taking the trouble to invite the group, “when questions were asked, Mr. Routledge said EEPGL is providing the Government with all the information.”
This, he posited, is “no doubt because the Government is the elected representative of the people and the [stakeholder] meeting was of barely one hour duration.”
Bhulai has since disclosed however, that “after EEPGL did not get back to us with the Zoom recording and the process flow diagram we requested, we felt we should take Mr. Routledge’s advice and ask our Government, who also keep claiming that they are transparent and accountable, to provide us the information we seek.”
As such, TIGI on March 26, in a letter made specific requests to the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and this was copied to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In that letter by the TIGI Secretary to Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, it was noted that a request was made from EEPGL for a process flow diagram of the operations and the recording of the stakeholder meeting too.
According to Bhulai, “there is absolutely no indication these are forthcoming.”
Additionally, TIGI in its letter to the Minister said, “Would you require elucidation of our request for information and the importance of having it, please contact us forthwith. Thank you in anticipation of a speedy reply.”
As such, Bhulai in his lamentations to the media said, “all they had to do was to fill the daily information, which they are purportedly getting from Exxon[Mobil] in the table of a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.”
He reminded that the technical operations presenter at the February stakeholder meeting said, “It was complicated but that the data has to be there for obvious control purposes, so we added a simplified scheme of some of what the table requires.”
TIGI insists, “Both the scheme and the table are based on the fundamental laws of conservation of matter and energy.”
It was noted too that TIGI further offered to elucidate for the MNR and the EPA “any items of our request for information that they did not understand and the importance of having those items.”
Accordingly, TIGI observed Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo’s intention to employ a consultant to get the information from ExxonMobil for Guyana and said, “This is good, but if he did not know what to ask, why didn’t they send our request for the promised daily information from Exxon.”
The information being sought by TIGI includes the levels for production, flaring, venting, reinjection sewerage discharge and daily pressures, among other readings.
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