Discussions on oil sector centred on investment -President Ali
-decision on Payara licence to be based on review
His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali has said the Government remains committed to the effective management of the oil and gas sector and will make an informed decision on the Payara well licence based on the advice of the professionals reviewing it.
The President made these assertions, this morning, during a joint press conference with United States Secretary of State, Mr. Michael Pompeo at State House.
“We have subjected ourselves to professional guidance. At the end of that review, the government, of course, will have to make an informed decision. Secondly, we’ve also committed ourselves to arm’s-length relationship with the management of the sector from a political perspective,” he stated.
The President added that he did not engage in discussions on Guyana’s Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) with ExxonMobil during his meeting with Secretary Pompeo. Discussions centred on investment as it relates to the oil and gas sector.
“Guyana is open to investment. We’re open to investors. The management of this resource must be done by the competent and qualified technical persons who can ensure that we get the best output from our oil and gas resources,” President Ali said.
The Head of State also said his administration intends to ensure transparency and accountability in the sector. As such, Dr. Ali said plans are in train to examine legislation for the Sovereign Wealth Fund to strip excessive powers from the Minister responsible for the sector. The Government will soon re-table the Petroleum Commission Bill in keeping with plans to establish the Commission to ensure that the sector is not subject to undue political interference.
President Ali also alluded to the establishment of the Local Content Task Force, which will be mandated to ensure that all Guyanese benefit from the emerging petroleum sector.
Highlighting the importance of oil and gas as a driver of economic growth, the President said, “it allows us to build, to expand and to create an environment in which our traditional sector will become competitive and also give us additional resources that we can transform the country.”
Meanwhile, Secretary Pompeo noted that it was not their role to interfere with the negotiations made between Guyana and ExxonMobil. Instead, Mr. Pompeo said, his Government has and will assist in foreign direct investments to benefit the people of Guyana.
Mr. Pompeo’s visit to Guyana is the first by a sitting US Secretary of State.