Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Godfrey Statia is pleased that the newly established Energy Department is pursuing the creation of a model Production Sharing Agreement (PSA). He noted however that one of the key changes which must be reflected in the document is the power of government to pay surprise visits to all petroleum facilities.
During an exclusive interview with the Guyana Standard, the GRA official said that inspection covers a range of areas for the oil sector.
He said, “Inspection covers from financial concerns through to health and safety requirements, and environmental compliance. In all of these areas, effective inspection may well require an element of surprise to prevent crucial facts from being concealed. So it is important for the Government to have the power to pay unannounced visits to inspect the site and records to ensure the company is in compliance with required standards.”
Statia is also a proponent for this being etched into Guyana’s laws. The tax chief believes that all inspection reports should also be made public so that the government bodies can be held accountable for the quality of its work.
According to the PSA Guyana signed with ExxonMobil, the Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman, must give the oil company seven days notice before he can visit their operations. He is also expected to carry out such a visit at his own expense.
This is enshrined in Article 9 of the contract which speaks to records, reports, and information.
Article 9 (e) states: “The Minister, through duly appointed representatives, upon providing the contractor with at least seven days notice, shall be entitled to observe the petroleum operations conducted by the contractor at his sole cost and expense and at all reasonable times to inspect all assets, records, and data kept by the Contractor relating to such petroleum operations. In the exercise of such rights under this paragraph the Minister shall not unduly interfere with the Contractor’s petroleum operations under this agreement.”