December 14, 2017

Guyana Govt to release Exxon contract

…following mounting public pressure

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon said that the contract between international oil giant, Exxon Mobil and the Government of Guyana, along with its terms and conditions, will be made public sometime during the month of December.
“I can up and say that the matter was discussed at Cabinet and what I would say also is that the Exxon contract with the Government of Guyana, will be made public during the month of December and that is the contract and all its terms and conditions,” he told media operatives during the Post Cabinet briefing on Thursday.
This announcement comes on the heels of the Opposition, as well as several significant members of society- including the Working People’s Alliance (WPA)- a party that makes up the coalition Government- spending months calling for the contract to be released.
The Guyana Government had a pre-existing agreement dating back to 1999 with Exxon Mobil which would have allowed them to conduct searches for oil finds in the country.
Exxon and its partners, Hess Corp and CNOOC Nexen, then made a significant oil find back in 2015 after drilling the Liza Field in the Stabroek Block located about 120 miles offshore Guyana.
The Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometres). Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited is the operator and holds a 45 percent interest in the Stabroek Block. Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd. holds a 30 percent interest, and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited holds a 25 percent interest.
Just recently, Government had undertaken a review of the contract and Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman had indicated that the review was to update the contract, but assured that the Government respects the “sanctity of contracts entered into.”
As calls for the contract to be made public became more frequent, the Minister had stated that the Administration does not believe that full disclosure of the contract would be of national interest. (Ramona Luthi)