“In Uganda, the United States, Singapore, Pakistan, and 30 other countries, citizens have access to the development plans of ExxonMobil and all other oil companies. This is at the heart of transparency, so why is the company being allowed to act differently here?”
This question is just one of many that troubles Director of Power and Money at Oxfam America, Ian Gary. The reputable Oil and Gas expert told this news agency today that the government is failing the people of Guyana by not making public the development plans of ExxonMobil, and other petroleum firms.
Gary said, “The development plan, which is produced by the company and approved by the Government prior to the granting of a production license, is one of the most important documents in any petroleum project. For years they were not made public, but thanks to the efforts of my firm and other anti-corruption bodies, these documents are being put in the open…”
The Oil and Gas Expert continued, “Critical decisions are noted in the plans, including technical drilling specifications, the number, and location of wells, production rates and, environmental and social protection measures. There is also the opportunity to create ‘shared value’ through infrastructure programmes which benefit the country as well as oil companies.”
Gary said that these decisions will have an impact on the revenue received by the Government “and as such, I believe that as much information as possible from these documents should be made available to the public. Other countries are doing it and Guyana should be no different… The fact that this is being done speaks volumes about how much government and its Energy Department really understand about the sector…It is a bad, bad sign. They must be out of touch with the outside world.”
As Guyana pursues modernized laws for the sector, Gary said it would be prudent for civil society groups to urge the government to ensure that the law states that development plans, alongside other key documents, should be available to the public.
He said, too, that Guyana could also make approved development plans available to the public with tightly defined exemptions for genuinely commercially sensitive information such as proprietary technology.