Commonwealth team in Guyana to upgrade Oil & Gas Policy

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Economic Adviser at the Oceans and Natural Resources Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Dr. Ekpen Omonbude, makes a point to Minister Trotman. ​
Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman, in discussions with the team from the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman, in discussions with the team from the Commonwealth Secretariat.

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Economic Advisers at the Oceans and Natural Resources Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Dr. Daniel Wilde and Dr. Ekpen Omonbude, met with Minister of Governance, with responsibility for the Natural Resources and the Environment, Raphael Trotman on Monday, September 21, to discuss and begin work on the upgrading of the Upstream Gas and Oil Policy, which was crafted some two years ago.

The team met with the Minister’s delegation, which included Ministerial Adviser, Clayton Hall, Legal Officers, Tamara Khan and Joanna Homer, along with Euileen Watson, Technical Officer- Mining.

Earlier this month, the government announced that it had invited the Commonwealth, which had helped in crafting the first Policy, to return to the country so that the document could be upgraded, given the recent oil discovery by US oil giant, ExxonMobil.

Initially, the team was scheduled to return to Guyana in November for the new document to be drafted but decided to begin almost immediately since Minister Trotman is expected to be out of the country during that period.

During the meeting, Dr. Ekpen Omonbude related that the upgrade to the Policy would involve an analysis of the legislative, contractual and regulatory frameworks currently in place to see how best they can be improved to the benefit of the country.

Economic Adviser at the Oceans and Natural Resources Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Dr. Ekpen Omonbude, makes a point to Minister Trotman. ​
Economic Adviser at the Oceans and Natural Resources Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Dr. Ekpen Omonbude, makes a point to Minister Trotman. ​

“We want to look at the fiscal arrangements for upstream petroleum activities to do two things; one is to assess it for its strengths and weaknesses and to strike the balance to get revenue and if we find any weaknesses; to make recommendations as to what needs to be done in order to move forward. We would also like to examine the existing petroleum legislation and contracts and make comments and recommendations,” Dr. Omonbude expressed.

Dr. Wilde said that the team will also be examining the resource management plan of the country as well as make suggestions and advising on the setting up of the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), an initiative he praised the current government for pursuing.

“The setting of a Sovereign Wealth Fund is very important. Many countries do not think about that in the initial stages and so it is good to see Guyana thinking about this and wanting to pursue it and we are ready to offer our assistance in this area,” Dr. Wilde said.

Minister Trotman, in brief remarks, welcomed the team noting that while the work done on the previous Policy was extensive, it is the Government’s belief that the policy should be ungraded to suit modern day changes so that it can be properly implemented and enforced.

Minister Trotman assured that coming out of the recommendations, if there is a need for legislative measures, these will be addressed.

The team will immediately begin its work and will be joined by a Legal Adviser from the Commonwealth Secretariat on September 22. A meeting is planned for Wednesday with Minister Trotman to provide an update on the work programme.

Work on the Upstream Oil and Gas Policy began in 2012 and was finalised and approved in the third quarter of 2014 by the former administration.

According to the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, the Policy envisions a strong, vibrant, and sustainable Private Sector-driven oil and gas industry, which will contribute significantly to Guyana’s socio-economic development.

The policy document represents Guyana’s attempt at setting out specific policy objectives and implementation measures for the exploration and potential development of upstream oil and gas resources found here. [Extracted and modified from Ministry of the Presidency]

 

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