Matter of full disclosure of Exxon contract is a live consideration before Cabinet

Dear Editor,

We thank you for the opportunity to respond to a letter appearing in the November 14, 2017 edition of the Stabroek News and headlined ‘Guyanese need the release of the Exxon contract and to know if a signing bonus was paid’.

The Ministry of Natural Resources has taken note of each and every call for the ExxonMobil agreement to be disclosed in the interest of transparency, from a number of stakeholders. These calls whilst validly grounded on the basis of transparency, also engender the promotion of related discussions and necessary considerations of national and international importance. Within this wider framework, the Government of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana has expressed its intent to publish the details of all Production Sharing Contracts as soon as it is opportune to do so.

The MNR takes this opportunity as well to guide that all international and local oil companies operating in Guyana have Production Sharing Contracts which contain confidentiality clauses. It is also the responsibility of Government in the interest of transparency and good governance, to engage all companies as the Government works towards publication.

These weighty considerations and deliberations are not matters residing solely within the ambit of the Minister of Natural Resources, but are reflective of the collective position of His Excellency, the President and the Cabinet of Ministers. Minister Trotman’s position is not his own, but that of a Government committed to the best interests of all Guyanese now and in the future.

It is with this interest in mind that the Government of Guyana thought it prudent to release key financial provisions of the contract – the royalty (2%), the production sharing percentage (50/50) and the cost recovery ceiling (75%). In addition every discovery carries a release on the quality and estimates of recoverable barrels of oil. This information allows Guyanese to gain a fundamental understanding of the expected financial returns to the nation and is not to be brushed aside simply in the pursuit of ‘more disclosure’. The MNR urges Guyanese to soberly consider what we expect, what opportunities are arising and what arrangements we need to put in place to properly manage the fortune that is coming our way; even as we work towards further releasing the contents of the contractual engagements in existence.

In closing we wish to emphasise, yet again, that this matter of full disclosure is a live consideration before Cabinet and the Ministry of Natural Resources shall continue to engage all stakeholders on this and other matters pertaining to the transparent and responsible development of the petroleum sector. We continue to welcome the contributions of all Guyanese and look forward to continued and productive engagement as we work towards increasing access to contractual information regarding our burgeoning petroleum sector in such a manner which preserves the public benefit and right to sustainable development, in the interest of openness and accountability.

Yours faithfully,

 Johann Earle

Public Affairs and Communications Officer,

Ministry of Natural Resources

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