U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives in Guyana Thursday evening and although his visit coincides with Guyana’s evaluation of U.S oil giant ExxonMobil’s development plan for the Payara oil project offshore, a senior State Department Official is assuring that there will be no effort to put any pressure on Guyana to approve the project.
With the Guyana Government providing little information on the high-level visit political commentators have speculated that among other things the U.S. might be seeking to apply pressure on Guyana to approve the project with ongoing delays in making the final determination.
The US official during a teleconference with reporters on Wednesday said that ExxonMobil’s evaluation will be done on its own merits by the Guyanese experts.
“I mean, this is certainly not an effort to put any pressure on Guyana. I think it’s more a celebration of their great success in this. Obviously we think American companies are really competitive – as I mentioned, the way our companies behave and they’re subject to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and so on. You look at that and then look at what China does. So those kinds of comparisons are made, but they don’t – it’s not so much that we have to make them. It’s they’re demonstrated out there in behaviour,” the official stated.
According to a transcript of the teleconference with the Senior State Department Official on the Secretary’s travel to Guyana and other South American territories, the U.S is trying to help Guyana and Suriname develop the kind of welcoming environments for honest foreign investment.
“That [they] both want and need to further their prosperity and development. And so I think this is a case where everybody is in agreement as to what they want and it’s a question of what do we do to get us from here to there,” the US official noted.
Earlier this week, Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat told local media that one of the issues affecting the granting of approval for Payara Field Development Plan is the overlapping of its Well on the existing Liza field.
He said ExxonMobil may have to remark the boundaries for the Payara Field or settle for a Liza Phase Three Project approval.
Upon election to office, the PPP government had moved to re-examine the work done on the Field Development Plan.
There are several environmental issues also barring the approval of the project but ExxonMobil has been pushing for the project’s approval with its recently appointed country Manager Alistair Routledge saying that the company can take its money elsewhere is the plan is not approved.