Nov 24, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – We have to take off our hat to Exxon and Hess, and the others exploring Guyana’s oilfields. These Americans never let up, never miss a beat, never allow an opportunity to go by to extract more out of Guyana. This is what we headlined in a recent edition of ours: “Exxon wants to extend hold on Stabroek Block due to COVID-19 – sends application to Govt. for consideration -Hess Chief Operating Officer reveals” (KN November 19). Just for the record, that does not surprise us, and is about as guaranteed as anything can get.
The current exploration licence expires in 2026, a whole five years from now, and Exxon and Hess are already on the move towards an extension for another 10 years. The British had our people under slavery centuries ago, now the Chinese extends that slavery more and more today in many commercial areas, and the Americans charge ahead of them to enslave us even more, with an application for a 10-year extension of its Stabroek Block exploration licence. Talk about forward planning, colonialism, and corporate smarts.
As much as we might want to scourge (and we definitely do) the foreign oil companies, the bulk of the blame and the anger of citizens of this country has to be aimed at local leaders. By this we mean, and do not spare anyone, all of our governments going as far back as 1999. Government leaders in the previous PPP’s span of stewardship, the five years of the APNU+AFC overseer-ship, and today’s current PPP chiefs all deserve to be flayed with spiked whips. They have given away, and keep giving away, without any regard for the damage done to the prospects of this country. It is why we spare none of them, since there have been opportunities to steady our oil boat and make things right; not wholly right, but reasonably better.
Instead, both the Coalition and PPP Governments have let the openings go by, which if they were seized and leveraged to our advantage, could have made a difference, and placed us on a different pathway. A bargaining pathway where we would have earned a bit of grudging respect from the likes of Exxon and Hess and others in the consortium setup for Guyana’s oil. It would have been that these people made mistakes, but they have learned, they are as tough as nails, and we trifle with them at great risk. Because one government after another have been such easy pushovers, Exxon and its brethren have made rings around us, and wrapped chains not only around our wrists and ankles, but also around our necks.
This explains why Hess’ Chief Operating Officer (COO), Mr. Greg Hill, could put in the public domain with confidence that, “The operator has applied for an extension on that 2026 (timeline) due to the effects of COVID-19 on that 2026 (timeline) and we will see if we actually get that but there could be an extension to the exploration licence.” They should be relinquishing (surrendering) fractions of the Stabroek Block at specific times, but instead of gearing up to do that, the Americans are talking about an extension of the exploration licence, and by a whopping 10 years. In fairness to COO Hill, he did qualify his words with “if we actually get that” (the extension). We thank him for his courtesy, but he didn’t have to go through that charade, since the whole world knows that there are no ifs ands or buts about an exploration licence extension being granted; such a done deal it is.
This is how weak and helpless, and pathetic the PPP Government looks before all observers, and none has to be possessing of any high intelligence to detect this way, which has been characteristic of both the PPP and Coalition. A nationally prominent Chartered Accountant was crystal clear as to how this country’s governments (previous and present) have utilised loopholes in the nation’s Petroleum Act to the benefit of ExxonMobil and its partners, Hess and CNOOC. To the benefit of the foreign oil companies, and not Guyanese who are betrayed repeatedly. It is our own Guyanese Governments that have used loopholes in our laws for outsiders to prosper, while locals get paltry handouts.
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