‘It’s not just about headquarters anymore, the vision has evolved’

Vice President addresses ‘sensationalized, misleading’ Kaieteur News article

The government’s stance on supporting the construction of ExxonMobil subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited’s (EEPGL) headquarters has not changed, but has merely evolved, reflecting the changing conditions of the situation at hand.

Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, revealed this on Friday evening during a live interview with the ‘Guyanese Critic’.

Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

Dr Jagdeo was at the time addressing a provocative article published by Kaieteur News on Friday, with the headline, ‘Guyana’s oil to pay for Exxon’s US$160M H/Q’.

The article claimed that ExxonMobil Guyana’s Head, Alistair Routledge, disclosed that due to Exxon’s current quarters reaching capacity, the company will be constructing new quarters to ensure that persons can work effectively and efficiently.

Routledge noted too, according to KN, that the cost of this new ‘fit-for-purpose’ building’s construction would be recovered.

In the live interview, Dr Jagdeo clarified that a vision of this type has never been unsupported by the government.

“I did say, [while] in opposition that the headquarters building that they were building at that time was several times the price of the Marriott. That is exactly what I said. And that for the scale of operation they had, they did not need such a headquarters building, and that that headquarters building, if it continues in that format, we will not support it—make it cost recoverable,” he clarified.

At the time ExxonMobil had announced plans for the construction of the headquarters, Dr Jagdeo further explained, Guyana had been producing 120,000 barrels of oil per day.

However, by the time the headquarters is actually completed, Guyana will be producing approximately 600,000 barrels of oil per day.

“It has evolved from just a headquarters building, to housing staff. They have 250 staff now, they are renting. That number will evolve to 500 staff members, most of whom will be Guyanese that will work there. So, it is now no longer just a headquarters building. It’s a training facility, the operations site, the control centre for all the offshore operations will be done in that same building,” Dr Jagdeo pointed out.

He also called attention to facilities that will be included in the headquarters, including fibre-optic cables connected to Exxon’s Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels, which will allow for remote monitoring throughout the day, and provide operators with the ability to control offshore operations from their control centres.

“To manage a million-barrel industry, where we’re heading: a million-barrel-per-day industry; from a safety perspective, an operational perspective, you need a building of that nature. A high-end building with advanced capabilities. And so, that has evolved.”

He highlighted that constructing the new headquarters would be a more practical solution regardless, as the cost of rental for Exxon’s current location is equal to the approximate cost of amortising the building over time.

“So, this concept evolved, but they made that look like it was different. If they had been building this building just for headquarters, we would have maintained our same position up to today,” Dr Jagdeo said.