Oct 11, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – “Guyana’s proven reserves climb to over 10 billion barrels -Exxon” (KN October 8). It is delightful news, following in the footsteps of recent similar encouraging news from out there under the seabed. The latest find by Exxon, in a bow to local life forms, is from a well called Cataback-1. Guyanese had better be contented with a series of names for billion-barrel wells that Guyanese can identify well with, and not much else.
Because we are so cynical about most things that Exxon does, in cahoots with leaders in past and present PPP Governments, as well as those in the prior Coalition Administration (now deathlike Opposition), we look at this latest billion-barrel oil discovery, and wonder whether Exxon is playing with us, what is it really up to, since nothing can be put past it, nothing be left to its good graces.
Only Exxon knows what is going on out there in the vast watery expanses. We Guyanese don’t. Only this sophisticated and experienced, thanks to its century long global footprint, American corporate colossus has the best understanding of how much oil is possible in exploration fields that are almost as big as Guyana’s underfoot mileage in whatever measurements employed. The number of possible productive fields, the probability of billion-barrel discoveries, and how to go about perfecting this lovely game that it has fixed.
For sure, Exxon has the technology and science, those versed in reading and interpreting the special mathematics of the geology, to appreciate how well-positioned it is, how dirt cheap are the Cataback-1 billion barrels and the ones before and to come. Best of all, Exxon has the monopoly over this oil. It can announce to us, and release to us, whatever and whenever it pleases its calculating top tier executives.
We Guyanese don’t have a clue and are clearly not even working with speed and zeal to getting some semblance of that which alters the equation a little in our favour. We are comfortable with being passive and reactive to the latest good news. Our leaders have gotten so complacent that they will not even stir to look at the many billions in expenses that Exxon said it incurred. Exxon has the best of every conceivable world existing anywhere on this earth.
It has a docile herd of captive political leaders to a still unmoved and uncaring population long conditioned to accept any vileness that high-placed people stuff down their throats. The history of leadership vileness has been swallowed wholesale because of the constant reassurances to citizens that what is destructive is the best of tonics, those packed with vitamins and minerals. Nobody is stopping to ask whether it is quicksilver that could ruin us and not Quaker Oats, as Exxon claims another surprise oil find to be.
It is in this political and social climate that Exxon thrives, given that we accept contentedly whatever it shares with colluding leaders, whatever is filtered for local consumption. With all of this said, it is not beyond reason, or well within the bounds of our intellectual width, to ask ourselves whether Exxon is staggering these oil discoveries. In other words, whether it has a playbook and timetable for dishing out to Guyanese a little bit of relish, some soothing sauces, all of which tells us how lucky we are.
We wonder also, if Exxon is not smartly (think a confidence trickster’s hustles) using oil finds to keep us panting and drooling for more, while distracting us from the gathering storms that are building on the company from within the domestic fold: contract renegotiation, leadership wavering. Cataback-1 gives conspiratorial Guyanese political leaders a bright talking point. It is one that overwhelms all the other noise nuisances about oil which upsets the company and agitate PPP powers.
With a billion-barrel find here and there, carefully staged for selected occasions, when the pressures build we could be rejoicing at our funeral. Suddenly, two percent fades to a shade, and 50/50 netted in our favour doesn’t look so terrible. Exxon is so gifted at finding these winning oil wells so opportunely, it is almost like a crooked cardsharp. Guyana is so lucky that it could care less, and doesn’t know better.
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