Jagdeo demands full disclosure on Exxon contract

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– as Trotman seeks to politicise issue

While traditional sectors in Guyana are being neglected, the nation’s expectations are being built up around a hype regarding the advancement the oil and gas industry would bring to the economy.

This is according to Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo. When he addressed a news conference on Friday, Jagdeo charged that even with the definite assurance of two per cent in royalties being paid to Guyana, only some Gy$8B may come Guyana’s way per annum (assuming that oil prices stand at US$50 per barrel and the production is 100,000 barrels per day).

“A payment of US$50 a barrel can’t solve our jobs problem,” he said.

Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

Jagdeo underscored that the coalition Government, via its secret deal with the Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), had “given away” what would be equivalent to 10 years of oil royalties – a point he made to stress that $8B cannot solve Guyana’s current economic problems.

Stressing that Guyana’s traditional sectors must benefit from Government support, he deemed it unwise to bank Guyana’s future on the oil and gas industry alone.

“He (Minister Raphael Trotman) is talking up expectation about massive future wealth… What he (Trotman) does (is that) he goes around talking up the future of this industry as though it will solve every problem in Guyana…as though there will be massive flows,” Jagdeo declared.

Calling on Government to make public the contract document signed with ExxonMobil, given several public statements made by Trotman and because the initial agreement with ExxonMobil had been signed by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government back in 1999, Jagdeo asserted: “We have seen a number of statements (being made) by the minister, and I have said in the past that I do not want to conduct the nation’s business on this industry in the public domain, I would prefer it would be treated the way we treat our border matter.

“We have a bi-partisan approach to the industry, particularly because of what it means to Guyana’s future,” Jagdeo posited; but he noted that comments aimed at comparing the former PPP/C Administration with the coalition Administration, with an intent on placing the latter in a more positive light, are merely attempts to politicise the issue.

And he stressed that the PPP would be in a position to defend itself and respond to Minister Trotman’s comments if the contract were to be made public. “If you are going to snipe at us, make the contract public, so we can defend ourselves,” he challenged.

The Opposition Leader noted that there is a very “real possibility (that) Guyanese (would be) worse off” come 2020” if development of the non-traditional sectors is ignored.

Following reviews of the technical and environmental aspects of the Liza Project Development Plan that was submitted by Esso Exploration and Production (Guyana) Ltd (EEPGL) in December 2017, the Government is expected to grant a production licence to ExxonMobil for petroleum production to move ahead in 2020.  In this regard, Jagdeo has urged that the coalition Government secure the best possible technical advice moving forward.

The Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometres). Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited is the operator and holds a 45 percent interest in the Stabroek Block. Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd. holds a 30 percent interest, and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited holds a 25 percent interest.

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