With the release of the contract signed with ExxonMobil for works on the Stabroek Block, government today announced that it has written to companies it has contracts with informing them that similar publicity will follow.
“We have started writing to all of the companies, informing them that the playing field has to be leveled and that again their contracts would be made public,” Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman told a post-Cabinet press conference where he was present to answer questions on the contract.
“If you look at the (Department of Public Information) website we developed it said contracts. It is the intention of the government to post all contracts…,” he added.
ExxonMobil’s officials here have said that while they do not have a problem with the release of the contract or making any agreement it has with this country public, the same should apply for all other companies.
Head of ExxonMobil’s Guyana operations, Rod Henson also said that the company eagerly anticipates Guyana’s full acceptance at the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) so that all like transactions could be made public. At the same time, he urged that there be protection of proprietary and commercial information and that it does not violate the country’s laws.
In that vein he said that what goes for one company should be spread across the board and that his company should not be the only one that has to disclose contracts and other transactions.
“We support transparency, we are members of EITI and when Guyana becomes a fully compliant EITI country these types of payment will be made public as part of that process. We absolutely support transparency,” he posited.
“I will say one more thing, that in terms of transparency though, disclosure of these terms is something that should be consistent across the industry instead of one company. Transparency initiatives, in order to be successful, you know, should protect proprietary and commercial information, should ensure that they don’t violate any country’s laws, should apply to all companies in the extractive industry,” he added.
The company’s Governance and Public Relations Officer, Kimberly Brasington has echoed Henson’s position.
“How we operate around the world we are EITI-compliant and are part of that process. Right now that process doesn’t exist yet. The part is undertaken and we are fully supportive of that and that is how I think, going forward, this kind of thing for ExxonMobil and all operators in this country (should be to) become transparent to the people. That is the point of EITI,” she asserted.
According to Brasington the company is mulling having the next topic for its outreach be transparency and accountability.