Oil and Gas sector agreements being double checked to ensure that they are in country’s best interest-Minister Harmon
DPI/GINA, GUYANA, Friday, June 30, 2017
Key government and other officials are currently engaged in discussions and review of all of the agreements and arrangements that have been put in place, with respect to the country’s preparation for the oil and gas sector in 2020. These include arrangements for the creation of the Sovereign Wealth Fund and agreements such the Oil and Gas Local Content Policy.
Minister of State Joseph Harmon explained that the tabletop review came out of a meeting in which His Excellency (H.E) President David Granger appointed a team of Ministers together with the Government’s Advisor on Oil and Gas, Dr. Jan Mangal to report on all issues relating to the sector to Cabinet. The Ministers of Government that form part of the team are the Ministers of Natural Resources, Finance, Public Infrastructure, Business and State.
The table top review is to allow for Cabinet to make decisions about the sector that are in “the best interest of all Guyanese,” Minister Harmon said, at the post-Cabinet press briefing at the Ministry of the Presidency, today.
The Minister explained that to support the review, the team has held extensive consultations with several entities. He noted that during the course of this week, Dr. Mangal and the government officials also met a team of officials from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on the request of the President.
“We are basically at this point, of accepting advice but ultimately we would have to come up with what is the best practice, and what is in the best interest of the people of Guyana,” the Minister said.
He noted there are several statements that are being made, some by Venezuela with respect to role of ExxonMobil in Guyana. The Minister reiterated that Guyana is a sovereign nation, “and we will make decisions that are in the best interest of the people of Guyana.”
He said that in moving forward and making decisions, the government is taking consideration of all the historical issues with respect to the oil and gas industry including some of ExxonMobil’s past actions. “We are taking note of all that is being said…and as a government. We have no issues with persons that are actually bring up information, for the benefit of the Guyanese people”, the minister said.
He assured that, the government in its continued engagement with ExxonMobil and other foreign companies, will continue to seek out a wealth of technical and experiences in the area of oil and gas.
The Minister said that whilst Dr. Mangal is currently advising the team reviewing the decision of the sector, the government and the Ministry of Natural Resources’ in-house capacities will be augmented by the available international resources, as the country move forward with its negotiations. “From time to time, we will identify leading experts in the field of law, environment and other negotiating skills, which we would put to use for the benefit of the people,” the Minister emphasised.
By: Macalia Santos