‘They meant evil by releasing this letter’- Min Trotman on signing bonus article

DPI, GUYANA, Friday, December 8, 2017

The Minister of Natural Resources said that the publication of a correspondence relating to a signing bonus from oil giant ExxonMobil was a deliberate attempt to embarrass the government.

“They meant evil by releasing this letter which is a standard letter but the Lord meant it for good,” Minister Trotman said today during the final day of budget debates in the National Assembly.

Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman.

Today’s local newspapers published a correspondence from the Finance Secretary, Hector Butts to the Bank of Guyana Governor, Gobind Ganga requesting the opening of an account for the signing bonus,  received from ExxonMobil.

Minister Trotman assured that there is no ill intent behind the non-disclosure of the details of its agreement with oil giant Exxon. “Nothing that this government has done yesterday, today and will do in the future, is done except to preserve the lives of the people of Guyana,” he said.

In fact, the minister emphasised, the government has committed to full disclosure of the contract between itself and Exxon and its partners. “When it is revealed it will be seen that this contract is no different than any that has been inked and signed by the previous administration and I believe that many are going to be disappointed because they believe that something was hidden,” Minister Trotman said.

The full contract will be released this very month Minister Trotman assured the National Assembly. Sharing “salient aspects”’ of the contract with Exxon, Minister Trotman noted that the renegotiation includes an increase the royalties payable by the oil company.

He explained that the previous one percent royalty stipulation was payable by the government “which means in sum that the royalty is zero.” “We have now secured a two percent royalty on the gross which will give the country $380M at today’s prices per annum US dollars,” Minister said.

Other details in the revised contract include an increase in the annual licencing fees from US$250,000 to US$1M, $300,000 annual for capacity building and training and $300,000 for Corporate Social Responsibility projects a portion of which was given to hurricane aid.

ExxonMobil and its partners, CNOOC Nexen and Hess Corp, are currently developing the Liza Field in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana for oil production by 2020.

 

By: Tiffny Rhodius

 

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