…says findings to be released soon
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday said that he would be examining the recently released ExxonMobil Contract over the next few days before sharing his perspectives on its contents and the circumstances which forced the Government to make it public.
Jagdeo maintained his position that the contract negotiated between the Government and US based oil company should have always been made public as there was nothing impeding its release.
“The reason for refusing to make the contract with ExxonMobil public over a year and a half after it was signed, in spite of a relentless campaign by the media, many civil society and international organizations and the Parliamentary political opposition, was made apparent now that the contract has emerged today. The now revealed contract exposes the false claims by the government that a clause inserted in the Petroleum Act by the PPP and national security concerns prevented its disclosure”, the opposition leader maintained.
He argued that the primary reason for keeping the agreement secret, despite it being registered at the Deeds Registry which made it a public document, is contained in article 33, which provides for a signing-bonus of US$18mln.
“The signing bonus as revealed by diligent work done by the media, was paid into a secret account at the Bank of Guyana with strict instructions not to transfer it into the Consolidated Fund, in flagrant violation of Article 216 of the Constitution and the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act. Several Cabinet members refused to acknowledge the existence of the signing bonus. The Minister of Finance even said was a “figment of the imagination” and that they never received a signing bonus nor did they ask for one although it was already paid into the secret account since September 2016”, he commented.
Jagdeo was adamant that now that the “sinister plan to squirrel-way the US $18 mln has been exposed”, there is no compelling reason to keep the agreement secret any longer.
He suggested that there are still many unanswered questions that the government needs to come clean on.
“…For example who negotiated the signing bonus and how was the figure of US$18 mln arrived at?”, he quizzed before stating that “over the next few days I will examine the contract in details and offer our perspective on it” .
After much criticism and public dissatisfaction, the Government today released the controversial petroleum agreement it signed with US oil giant, ExxonMobil as it announced that Guyana could pocket over $80B US dollars over the next few years once commercial operations commence.
Each barrel would be calculated at US$50 and worth some US$160B altogether. This means that Guyana would be receiving US$1M per day and US$300M each year based upon the agreement. This is based on the fact that some 3.2B barrels of oil reserves were discovered in the Stabroek block Liza 1 field.
The revised agreement makes provisions for an increase in the annual rental fee from US$240,000 to US$1 million with training being increased from US$45,000 to US$300,000.