Oil and gas industry “well founded” on transparency and accountability -PM Nagamottoo

DPI/GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, June 8, 2017

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo is maintaining the government’s position that the contract between the government and ExxonMobil “will be made available in due course”.

On Wednesday evening at Cara Lodge, Quamina Street, the Prime Minister was asked to comment on the Transparency Institute Guyana Incorporated’s (TIGI) call for full disclosure. TIGI is the latest in a number of public calls for full disclosure of the contract between Exxon Mobil and the government.

Guyana’s unresolved border row with neighbouring Venezuela was singled out by the Prime Minister as one of the government’s reasons against full disclosure. “We have a situation right now with Venezuela and we have entered into the last six months of a very delicate process involving the United Nations (UN), and we have to, in this final six months, decide if there is no resolution that the matter should go to International Court of Justice,” PM Nagamootoo pointed out.

“The oil and gas industry as far as the government is concerned is well founded on the basis of accountability, on the basis of transparency,” PM Nagamootoo further related.

The Prime Minister reiterated the Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman’s position that full disclosure of the contract now is not in the national interest. PM Nagamootoo described it as a “delicate issue”.  “There are some transactions and some particular situations where the question of full disclosure cannot be addressed immediately, not that you are turning your back on transparency or accountability,” PM Nagamootoo explained.

However, PM Nagamootoo has assured that the government is releasing “the relevant information to the public” and accounting bodies like Parliament’s Economic Services Committee. The government has to “bring forth salient aspects of the arrangement without endangering our national interests” to these bodies PM Nagamootoo told the local media.

The Prime Minister highlighted Guyana’s efforts to become a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) which sets standards for accountability and transparency in the extractive sector. “We have forged a multi-stakeholder partnership with the GEITI to make all our transactions as transparent and the way the industry proceeds would be set up,” the PM noted.

Recently the Ministry of Natural Resources released details of the production sharing agreement between the Government and ExxonMobil. The Government and people of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana will receive a royalty of two percent on gross earnings and benefit from 50 percent of the profits from the sale of petroleum once production commences.

The government has also laid a Bill in the National Assembly for the establishment of a Petroleum Commission to serve as a governing body to guide and give direction to the new oil and gas industry.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and other ministries and agencies are actively pursuing a number of undertakings on the policy, legislative and infrastructure sides to ensure that the country is prepared for the coming oil production scheduled for 2020.

 

By: Tiffny Rhodius

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