The Natural Resources Ministry is refuting claims made in an article by International news agency ‘The Huffington Post’ published on January 17, 2017, which states that the United States Department of State is “involved in writing oil and gas regulations for the country of Guyana.”
In a statement on Thursday, January 19, 2017, the Ministry said the article, headlined ‘Conflict: Tillerson would Write the Rules for Exxon’s Major Oil Find in Guyana’ inaccurately states that the United States Energy Governance and Capacity Initiative (EGCI) is “involved in writing oil and gas regulations for the country of Guyana, where Exxon has just announced another major oil find.”
It was highlighted that while the EGCI has been lending support to Guyana for the past six years in the area of capacity building to manage eventual oil and gas revenues, “there is no truth to the assertion in the article that the EGCI will be playing any part in writing Guyana’s oil governance laws, or any laws for that matter.”
It clarified that the Commonwealth Secretariat is the lead agency supporting Guyana in preparing a suite of legislation for the oil and gas industry. It was also added that this relationship between Guyana and the EGCI programme in Guyana commenced in 2010.
The Government of Guyana has had many engagements with the officials of the U.S State Department as part of the capacity building initiative but the EGCI programme has only been partially implemented through a series of scoping studies that were conducted in 2016, Thursday’s statement said.
This was also supported by Former Minister of Natural Resources, Robert Persaud who in a facebook post on Wednesday noted that “based on my information, the sovereignty of Guyana in making decisions relating to hydrocarbon development and operations has not been surrendered, at this point in time and hopefully will never be.”
The former Minister pointed out that the Government, since 2011 (and even previously) has been working with many other agencies other than the US Government such as the Commonwealth Secretariat, Canadian High Commission, Chatham House, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank Group on the development of polices and regulations to manage a modern oil and gas sector.
Persaud added that “the Government has reviewed (and my guess is still reviewing) various proposals for the development of onshore supply base facilities and other value-added industrial centres for the oil and gas sector.”
In its article on January 17, 2017, ‘The Huffington Post’ wrote that the Energy Governance and Capacity Initiative is currently helping the Guyanese government write profit sharing agreements, environmental regulations, and develop a strong rule of law to counterbalance corporate power.
The article was written in light of current speculations on Exxon’s former Chief Executive Officer, Rex Tillerson’s nomination for the Secretary of State position.