Mr Khan’s accusation over the US$460m pre-contract cost was erroneous

Dear Editor,

I shared with Ms. Lisa Sachs, Director, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, USA, Dr. Jan Mangal former Petroleum Presidential Advisor, and Mr. Imran Khan of the Department of Public Information an Al Jazeera programme on Monday July 30. During the course of the half an hour discussion, responding to my assertion that ExxonMobil’s claim of US$460 million as per-contract cost to December 31, 2015 was inflated, Mr. Khan’s response was that my statement was unsubstantiated.

Immediately after the programme, Imran admitted to me on the telephone that he had not read my 44th Stabroek News Oil and Gas column published on May 24, 2018 which did exactly what he claimed I had not done. It is of course improper for Mr. Khan to make such an accusation to a domestic audience, let alone an international audience, whether out of ignorance or otherwise since no subsequent correction can undo the error.

In any case, I know and trust Mr. Khan to do the decent thing and to acknowledge his uninformed claim. 

In our very cordial telephone conversation, I also drew Mr. Khan’s attention to column # 52 in the Oil and Gas series in which I produced a short table evidencing plagiarism in a statement issued by his Department. His response was that the plagiarism (my word) emanated from the Ministry of Finance and was merely repeated by his Department. 

It would be good for Mr. Khan’s own professional reputation to avoid being a mouthpiece and acting more like a professional.

Yours faithfully,

Christopher Ram 

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