Despite the fears expressed by some local critics, Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge, says he does not agree with the perception that the government missed all opportunities to create a national oil company (NOC) which can have a stake in ExxonMobil’s lucrative finds in the Stabroek Block.

Speaking with the Guyana Standard recently, the Minister said, “There has never been any doubt in my mind that if you want to manage a resource such as the petro-carbon sector, you will need a state-owned company with a capacity to help to mobilise the rate and the segments of the resources. However, I don’t believe all is lost. I wouldn’t say that we shouldn’t hurry in this direction but we still have time.”

The official continued, “You have a major US company which is undertaking exploration which is Exxon and it has a lot more concessions. There is no doubt that they would be seeking a lot more approvals for well development…We can speak with Exxon either to take shares in their operation or where they have an operation that is small, they can work with the government to have other operators or government operators [involved].”

The economist added, “The arrangement that government has with them does not preclude us at any point from having a stake. You have, of course, to pursue that in a manner that is not going to be inimical to their interest but the arrangement does not prevent us from getting a stake.”

Further to this, the minister said that the government’s policy on this matter is still the subject of review.

He said, “What I would say is that we have to wait and see what recommendations will come from the Department of Energy and the external advisors who have been retained to review the development of the sector.”

Greenidge said, too, that there are several studies which have been done by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) which also have to be given due consideration.



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