Minister of Natural Resources and Leader of the Alliance for Change (AFC), Raphael Trotman on Monday praised ExxonMobil for investing in the oil sector here and said it is now resulting in other important companies wanting to do business here.
As Minister, Trotman has been pilloried over a series of issues related to ExxonMobil, including the unwillingness to release the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA), the secrecy over the oil signing bonus and weaknesses and deficiencies in the 2016 PSA which he oversaw.
On Monday, he spoke about the oil sector in his capacity as leader of the AFC, one of the two partners in the governing APNU+AFC coalition.
He urged Guyanese to focus on what has been gained in government’s 2016 PSA with ExxonMobil rather than on a need for more.
Speaking at the AFC’s Headquarters, Trotman stressed that ExxonMobil has invested in Guyana at great risk.
“We have a company that is the only one in the world willing to invest billions… prepared to take the economic risk at a time when global oil prices had plummeted to US$30 per barrel in 2015, prepared to take political risk as Guyana is not the most stable politically as well as take the security risk, bearing in mind the threats and demands made from elsewhere that what we have is not really ours but is someone else’s so zero from zero leaves you nothing so if you have oil in the ground or trees standing but nobody wants to touch them, they are worth zero,” Trotman argued.
He said that Guyana has now become the number one country in the world with prospects in oil and gas. Prospects which would soon increase its per capita wealth to levels beyond imagining. ExxonMobil’s last official figure of reserves in the Stabroek Block was 3.2 billion recoverable oil-equivalent barrels.
“I don’t see what was lost but what we are about to gain. I see a contract where for Liza Phase I only, we will get US$7 billion in less than a decade,” he said, adding that while he sees persons locally talking about what the country didn’t get he also sees international enthusiasm and expressions of interest.
According to Trotman, executives from the German automation company, Siemens have asked for a meeting with an array of ministers while the head of Halliburton, one of the world’s largest oil field service companies has visited Guyana.
He noted that Shell Oil Company which pulled out of the Exxon exploration has now indicated a desire to return.
“It took a company to say we are prepared to invest in Guyana and it citizens for others to now show a willingness and courage,” he said.
According to Trotman, one of the options being considered for the Liza-1 well is the provision of free cooking gas to every household since the amount of gas found is not enough for export.
“We made a finding of liquid oil which needs minimum refining but we have found associated gas, it is not enough to export,” he said. In light of this two options are being explored, a reinjection to build pressure and make extraction easier or energy production.
A third option of flaring was discarded in light of government’s Green Agenda.
“Exxon offered to burn it off like in Trinidad so they can get to the oil. We said no we are going green,” the Minister said, explaining that possible gas harvest would reach 50 million cubic meters per day when a yield of trillions per day is needed to successfully run a gas field.
“The offer was made [to] bring it on shore for use for energy generation and for cooking gas where you can give every household cooking gas,” Trotman said.
He reminded that the gas would be landed free and government would be only expected to put in a pipeline.
“We are thinking, we haven’t decided because the amount is small. We could generate 200 megawatts of power until we transition to hydro. We could provide every household free cooking gas or at a price so cheap that you don’t have to go with your cylinder and pay $3,000 or $4,000”, Trotman noted.