Jagdeo reminds that oil money cannot be used until after elections

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo

With oil production likely to begin in December, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has reminded that revenues earned cannot be spent until after elections slated for March 2, 2020.

“None of the resources… could be used before the elections because there is no budget. There’ll be no budget. The money has to be escrowed, placed in an account… properly guarded until after elections…,” Jagdeo said during his press conference yesterday.

“They’re too compromised to set up anything to benefit our people. So it’s best that they produced the oil and they escrowed the resources, and then after the elections all of this is settled,” he posited.

Commercial oil production offshore Guyana was initially slated for 2020.

However, Hess Corporation, one of the partners in the oil-rich Stabroek Block, says production will now start in December.

In its third quarter report, Hess Corporation, which holds a 30 per cent stake in the Stabroek Block with ExxonMobil and other affiliates, announced that production is now targeted to start up in December this year.

This is according to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) John Hess.

“In September, we announced our 14th discovery in the Stabroek Block at Tripletail, offshore Guyana and are now targeting December for first oil from the Liza-1 development,” he said in the report.

Only in September, upon the arrival of the Liza Destiny floating production storage and offloading vessel (FPSO), it was indicated that first oil could be earlier than expected.

With the 120,000 barrels of oil per day expected from production in the Liza Phase 1 development, it is estimated that Guyana will earn some US$300 million annually.

Meanwhile, Jagdeo said his party has already made it clear that it will not participate in any architecture that is illegally passed. For example, he noted the Natural Resources Fund was illegally established since it was done after the December passage of the No-Confidence Motion which toppled the coalition government.

“You’ve heard me argue that the Government, the politicians have too much control over the Natural Resources Fund, that we intend to repeal that Bill… We’ll pass a new architecture. The new architecture will have a more arms-length relationship from the politician, it will be more bipartisan,” Jagdeo asserted.