List of suppliers also pertained to Exxon subcontractors

The list released by government on Tuesday was reflective of companies and individuals that  ExxonMobil and its main contractors have done business with.

It was originally believed that the list of 227 pertained to suppliers and business partners of only ExxonMobil’s subsidiary EEPGL and its two partners.

In the face of the denial yesterday of direct work from ExxonMobil by the accounting firm Ram and McRae, ExxonMobil’s public relations official Kimberly Brasington said that while Ram and McRae was not a direct beneficiary of procurement of goods or services by her company,  it was utilized by some of their subcontractors.

This fact she explained was stated when the company released its list of suppliers to government as it noted that it showed both direct and subcontractors’ local content quotas.

“This list is ExxonMobil and our signed contractors. We have about 10 main contractors that we have given work to help support our operations here. We report all those companies’ local content metrics along with our own, the list says ‘ExxonMobil and its contractors,” Brasington told Stabroek News yesterday.

It is in this vein that Ram and McRae stated that the company has been getting work.

“Entirely independent of the EEPGL, Ram and McRae has been providing a range of services to subcontractors of EEPGL and other entities operating in the sector,” the firm said in a statement yesterday where it also called for a clarification by the company and the Department of Public Information (DPI).

Government, through DPI, on Tuesday released the names of the 227 local companies and individuals. 

The listings did not detail the services provided or indicate whether the transactions represented long term or one-off agreements but  DPI used the release to single out critics of the contract signed between the government and Exxon’s local affiliate and its partners, saying that they were among the local company’s “making hay” from the oil giant’s spending.

“Kaieteur News, which has been executing an unrelenting daily anti-Oil & Gas campaign, is among the hundreds of local companies that have been cashing in on ExxonMobil’s multi-billion-dollar investment in the Guyanese economy. Ram & McRae, which is owned by vocal Oil and Gas critic Christopher Ram, is another of the Guyanese companies making hay from the oil giant’s spend in Guyana,” a DPI statement accompanying the list stated. It also singled out the Guyana Times and Sleep In hotel as beneficiaries.

DPI informed that the list was supplied by government to the Natural Resources Committee of the National Assembly last week Friday.

“The Government of Guyana, last Friday, released to the Natural Resources Committee of the National Assembly, the list of 227 local companies which ExxonMobil has been doing business with for the first quarter of 2018. This is in addition to some 309 Guyanese owned companies which ExxonMobil and its contractors engaged in 2017,” the DPI release stated.

“Dozens of CARICOM and foreign-owned companies, which employ hundreds of Guyanese, have also been providing goods, products and services to ExxonMobil and their contractors,” it added.

Head of DPI, Imran Khan, yesterday acknowledged that the statement “could have been more explicit” and state initially that subcontractors’ local content numbers were included in the list.

“It (DPI’s release) could have been more explicit but it was what was meant in those two paragraphs,” he told Stabroek News yesterday.

The list seems to be focused primarily on service providers and it is unclear how it will be developed to meet government’s own local content objectives, which are geared towards enhancing skills and creating businesses to support the oil and gas sector.

“Local Content under the Guyanese narrative will be understood as the sum of inputs of local goods and services including employment across the oil and gas value chain. The primary aim and objective of the policy is ensuring the education, inclusion, and advancement of as many as possible in the value chain of the oil and gas industry. In an effort to maximize benefits and retain value from Guyana’s petroleum resources, considerable focus will be given towards Capacity Development, Local Content and Value Addition,” Guyana’s Second Draft Local Content Policy states.

According to World Bank research on local content and oil and gas oil content portal, the main local content objective of every country to provide jobs and to keep its wealth within its borders.

As a result, the listing provided by Exxon may face criticism over whether it meets the understanding of local content as the building of a skilled local workforce and a competitive manufacturing and supplier base, and oil and gas technology transfer.

Critics noted that the premier skills development institutions, such as the University of Guyana and the Government Technical Institute, had not been included in the listing. This newspaper has been unable to verify if the institutions formed part of the company’s local content plans.

Khan said that the released list was “all” that the Ministry of Natural Resources gave his agency for publication. A  figure of “over $10B” was also stated by DPI that  was spent by the company and Khan said it came from adding the US$39M the company spent last year and US$14M it told this newspaper it expended for the first quarter of 2018.

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