Jagdeo “glad” he did not attend briefing on oil contract

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Despite being absent from a stakeholders’ briefing on the official release of the ExxonMobil contract, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has tons of questions for the Government of Guyana.

However, at the People’s Progressive Party Civic’s (PPP/C) end of the year press conference on Friday, December 29, Jagdeo said he is glad he did not attend the event.

Jagdeo said he did not attend the event because he did not receive the invitation to the stakeholders briefing, however, he has no regrets for not attending.

“I did not receive the invitation because apparently it went to the office and none of our MPs receive the invitation but I am glad I did not go because it was a PR stunt pulled by the government,” the Opposition Leader told the news conference.

The Opposition Leader contended that there is no ‘full disclosure’ of the contract because the government still needs to answer questions such as who requested the US$18M signing bonus and who comprised the negotiating team.

“There is no full disclosure. We still don’t know who negotiated the contract, what technical advice they had, who negotiated the bonus, how did it come to US$18M, what was the calculation?’ Jagdeo questioned.

Confirmation that the signing bonus was received was finally made public by the press after repeated denials by the Government.

The Government was then forced to admit that it received US$18M from ExxonMobil and has since released the contract.

Meanwhile, the former president said he understands that ExxonMobil has a priority to make profits but he contended that the Guyana Government could have struck a better deal during the renegotiation of the contract.

“Now you have more cards to play with because now we have discovered oil and we have 3.2 billion barrels to recover just on this one development and the basins look promising and everyone wants to come to Guyana now,” Jagdeo explained.

However, he contended that Guyana received “peanuts” despite all of the bargaining power the country now holds.

“3.2 billion barrels multiply by US$50, you will see its peanuts,” he expressed.

In March 2020, ExxonMobil and its production partners are expected to begin bringing up oil from 17 wells offshore Guyana.

The first phase of its operation will run for an estimated 20 years; at the end of it, Guyana’s revenues would amount to some US$7 billion.

The revenue was calculated based on crude forecast of US$50 per barrel and considers 2% royalty and Guyana’s half of profits after production cost is recovered.

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