Sep 13, 2023 Editorial
Kaieteur News – “The government was very reasonable with us and we got an extension for our exploration licence from 2026 to 2027. We also got an extension for relinquishment (of 20 percent of the block) from October 2023 to October 2024. I think it reflects well on government; that it worked with us and this was a reasonable outcome.”
We can always depend on Mr. John Hess, CEO of Hess Corporation and a partner in the ExxonMobil-led consortium for disclosures on what is happening in Guyana with its oil wealth, and how the oil companies benefit on each occasion. At times, Mr. Hess shares more with Guyanese on their oil than the man who spearheads the oil sector, Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo. Mr. Hess has sales pitches to make, which he did in fine style at the energy conference he spoke at, with all eyes on him. Because it is the name Guyana and the subject matter was oil, then every word of Mr. Hess was being closely followed.
He had spoken before, and in the most glowing terms, of democratic norms in Guyana, and how the PPPC Government is a wonderful working partner. At this recent energy conference, the Hess CEO emphasized how reasonable the government was back in 2020 when approached. In fact, he noted that the [David Granger] Administration was “very reasonable”. An oil corporation can rarely do better than that, find such an understanding national partner in the oil business. Governments usually ask for some quid pro quo, and because they own the asset (oil) they are able to wring concessions out of companies. The Government of Guyana did not do any of that, or go that far, from all indications.
Mr. Hess then told his enrapt listeners that “government…worked with us, and this was a reasonable outcome.” There is that million-dollar word again: “reasonable” and it speaks volumes about how the Guyana Government was listening and cooperating with its foreign oil partners in a time of global crisis, which was during the COVID-19 pandemic. Clearly, from his own words in the presentation, Mr. Hess was both pleased and impressed, and it is fair to conclude that the same could be said of ExxonMobil, the consortium’s leading partner.
What this reiterates is that in every step along the way of this relationship, Guyana has been the one that has been giving, Guyana is the side that is generous, Guyana is the party that is “very reasonable”, in Mr. Hess’s own words. Something that should be obvious in all this: it is a one-sided setup, a very one-sided one. Guyana gives to the oil companies operating offshore and Guyana gets nothing. Guyana makes concessions, in extending the clock for ExxonMobil, but Guyana is stuck in the same pathetic place. Guyana goes out of its way, and it is all a one-way street. There is nothing coming from the ExxonMobil-led side of this partnership. Not a reciprocal concession, not any reciprocal reasonableness, not any reciprocal something for something.
The oil companies enjoy an additional year to explore and study with the fullest freedom a huge area in the Stabroek Block that was scheduled to be relinquished, thanks to a “very reasonable” Guyana Government in 2020. It is now 2023, and an increasing number of Guyanese from all walks of life are calling for more from ExxonMobil and partners. The response has been not just unreasonable, but what is most unreasonable. All that the oil companies are bent on and work tirelessly to obtain, are those generous hands from Guyana that favor their visions and strategies and plans.
The one-year extension is valuable, and means that Guyana has yielded time and opportunity with an asset from which millions could have been earned for this country. We are positive that a flock of investors would have rushed here to get a piece of the storied Stabroek Block, which many believe to be floating on oil. Guyana surrendered its chance at profiting from what should be relinquished by ExxonMobil, and all it gets is a nice, warm speech from Mr. John Hess about “reasonable.” Some of the same reasonableness from ExxonMobil would go down well here, making for a real partnership of equals.
The only savior of Guyana
Oct 02, 2023Kaieteur Sports – The Andrew Lewis National Novice Boxing Championship continued its riveting action on Saturday at the National Gymnasium, located along Mandela Avenue. Day Two showcased the...
Oct 02, 2023
Oct 02, 2023
Oct 02, 2023
Oct 01, 2023
Oct 01, 2023
By Sir Ronald Sanders (The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the Organization of American... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.