Stakeholders briefed on oil contract

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The government today delivered on its commitment to release the full contract with ExxonMobil and its partners and briefed stakeholders at the Ministry of the Presidency.

The contract was published on the website of the Department for Public Information and is now available for download on the News Room website. ( https://newsroom.gy/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Petroleum-Agreement-Oct-7-2016.pdf)

The document confirms that the government received a US$18 million bonus, paid into a special bank of Guyana account and it also confirmed the 2% royalty and 50/50 profit sharing between the government and the oil companies after costs are recovered.

It also confirms that the company will pay US$300, 000 annually for training of Guyanese.

The government buckled to public pressure to release the document after refusing to do so, arguing that the release of the document would have compromised the country’s national security.

Pressure mounted on the government to release the contract especially after a letter was leaked to the press and published on December 8, 2017, showing that the Government received the signing bonus in 2016 despite repeated denials. The letter also revealed that a special foreign currency account was set up at the Bank of Guyana to receive the funds.

The same day, Raphael Trotman, the Minister of Natural Resources, admitted that the signing bonus was received. He did not give an amount, further keeping the nation in suspense.

He said that then though that the 2% royalty will give Guyana US$380 million per annum. In addition, he said the oil companies’ annual fees have been moved from US$250, 000 to US$1 million per year. Further, he said the companies will give US$300, 000 for capacity building and another $300, 000 as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility.

On December 14, 2017, Carl Greenidge, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, told the National Assembly that the signing bonus was US$18 million that that US$15 million has been set aside to pay legal fees to settle the border controversy with Venezuela and the other US$3 million would be used for training of Guyanese.

Mr Greenidge declared that governments have negotiated with petroleum companies to be paid various amounts in light of evolving prospects of the sector or industry.

President David Granger on December 13, 2017 said that the decision to place the signing bonus into a separate bank account instead of into the Consolidated fund “was the thing to do…at that point in time,” as he took full responsibility for the transaction.

“I am the Head of Government; I am responsible and I am aware of it and it is a legitimate Government of Guyana exercise and I am aware that it is in the Bank of Guyana is Escrow which means it cannot be used for the purpose it’s not intended,” Mr Granger said.

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