The Petroleum agreement signed with ExxonMobil and its partners provides a good opportunity for the Government of Guyana to craft future contracts to ensure there are different terms to suit the country’s new realities.
According to a DPI release, this view was recently expressed by Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman, who was speaking on the sidelines of a Stakeholder’s Consultation on the Draft National Oil Spill Contingency Plan hosted at the Civil Defence Commission (CDC).
The ExxonMobil Contract is slated for review in the next four years, however, Minister Trotman said he will not speculate but it is expected by that time the sector would have been operationalised, therefore there may be a number of areas the Government would want to re-examine.
In the meantime, the Minister said the Government has no intention of interfering with the size of the Stabroek Block, which is 6.6 million acres and spans the two extremes of the country’s borders.
The PPP Government in 1999 signed an agreement and the block was strategically sized and this administration, the Natural Resources Minister said, saw the wisdom in this decision.
“Despite all that is claimed, the Minister of Natural Resources or whoever the Minister is that has responsibility for the Petroleum sector, does have the authority under law to vary the sizes of blocks,” Minister Trotman clarified.
He informed that just a few blocks are remaining, some closer to shore and others offshore, however, the Government is still to decide when and to which companies those will be allocated.
In response to a question regarding the lumping of the royalties to be received by Guyana under the contracts with Tullow Oil company and others, Minister Trotman said there is “nothing bizarre” about such an arrangement.
He cited the fact that there are varying models of production sharing agreements, “and so there is no norm, things have changed but each country determines what is in its best interest.”
In this case, the Natural Resources Minister believes this agreement was in the best interest of Guyana, in order to attract investors.
With ExxonMobil to commence production in the next two years, Minister Trotman said how the country utilises the revenue accrued, for the benefit of future generations, is most important.
“Schooling, healthcare, roads, bridges, the opening of the country, those are the preeminent concerns of mine,” the minister said.
Additionally, he has asked Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin to take up the responsibility for local content development.
He expects that the Draft Local Content Legislation will be finalised by the end of April, 2018.