The Department of Energy will continue with its work in spite of the Government’s preparations for General and Regional Elections. This is according to Petroleum Advisor to the Government, Matthew Wilks. The official made this clear to the Guyana Standard during a recent interview while noting that the Department has already held a meeting on fast-tracking its work to complete several policies.
Wilks said that the Department of Energy is focusing on completing the National Oil and Gas (Upstream) Policy, the Local Content Policy, the National Oil Spill Response Plan and the Depletion Policy by 2019 and “no elections process should prevent or bring this to a halt…”
He said, “We are professionals and we have to execute the mandate given to us… I have told the government already that the Energy Department officials won’t be out there electioneering. The work of the department will not be stopped or hindered in any way. The preparation of the country for first oil must not suffer and so spending will continue in that regard. We have several important policies which must be finished, at least the first draft for some of them within two months and we have some laws which need to be reviewed. A committee is already on that.”
Additionally, Wilks said he is currently engaging several officials from the United Kingdom and Australia regarding methods used to detect tax avoidance schemes by oil companies.
Wilks said, “This is an area that we are focusing on too. And like our work on the policies, we want this done by the first quarter of 2019. The methods used by the UK and Australia are some of the best in the industry and I am keen on sharing that with the Guyana Revenue Authority. They have been notified about this. And I understand that they are actively involved in checking the books of Exxon until we have selected a firm to do the cost recovery audit…So we are making progress and we will continue to do so.”