Jun 21, 2022 Editorial
Kaieteur News – What Exxon is doing to Guyana is nothing but barbaric. It pays Guyana US$607M in two years, as our share of royalties and profits, but collects US$355.7M for decommissioning costs. To make matters worse, Exxon is allowed to keep the money that it deducts for decommissioning (cleanup) and put to its own use for its own benefit. Our earnings are being reduced to the tune of almost US$356M for future cleanup expenses, and the American oil giant is permitted to retain it for whatever purposes it sees fit, and get away with that atrocity.
Something has to be terribly wrong with Guyanese, and it is not us at this paper. There is no Guyanese who could agree with what is nothing but pure stupidity. We are fully aware of the cupidity of Exxon, which is expected; but of our own stupidity and impotency, we are yet to come to grips. When one of our top leaders could justify what Exxon is doing with the decommissioning monies taken from the share that belongs to Guyana, and use that for its own advantage, then our goose is cooked.
We are trying hard to appreciate how anyone could find any reason to stand on the side of the oil companies and defend what they are doing with these decommissioning funds deducted from our royalties and profits. An Exxon investor does that, and we have no choice but to nod at the self-interest of that shareholder. But when a Guyanese leader sees it fit, that nothing is wrong with what Exxon is doing with our money, then we are lost as to what could be in store for the poor, expectant citizens of this country.
We are clueless as to how Exxon and its partners arrived at the hundreds of millions to be set aside in their hands for cleanup costs years from now. This is a single deduction that rips out our financial liver. And, from all indications, we are unmoved as to doing anything that, at least, gives us some assurance that the deducted decommissioning dollars will be there when it is cleanup time. This represents the haemorrhaging of our hopes, a devastating draining of the few more dollars that should come our way.
It is not mauby money, as in a couple of pennies, but hundreds of millions, which are set to grow into the billions of US dollars, as the years roll on, and the annual deductions keep going on. There must be a stop to the manner in which this is happening presently. We have to make a start at this and insist that these decommissioning funds be held not by Exxon, but by Guyana. Those funds must be in Guyanese hands and Guyanese control. We shouldn’t have to say this again, but we don’t trust Exxon, we have only complete disagreement in how it does business, especially when poorer countries, with nonwhite populations are involved.
It is why it is so perplexing, definitely troubling, that Guyana’s chief oil minister could be so dogged, and so agile, in rushing to defend what the company is doing, how it is employing our decommissioning money. That is, to lower its costs of borrowing, hence, its overall costs, leading to greater profits for the company; and that this is the standard that applies. Somehow, we thought that Guyana would feature more prominently on the mind of Exxon’s leading defender, Guyana’s own oil leader, its Vice President. We never hear anything from the Vice President on the priority of Guyana’s interests, Guyana’s costs, Guyana’s potential for a little bit of prosperity from this oil, because on those he is carefully silent, as if fearing Exxon.
We should have some plans for those decommissioning millions (soon in billions), if only to earn interest for ourselves from them, as held by us. The Vice President approves of Exxon using our sizable decommissioning funds as the basis for making more money on our backs. But of standing in approval for those same monies being kept by us for our own confidence and security, he never offers a word. The question, the concern, is whether those decommissioning dollars will be there when it is cleanup time.
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