Contrary to perceptions in some quarters, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman has assured that the APNU+AFC Government is not sleeping on the critical legislative reforms required for the petroleum sector. In fact, the Minister told the Guyana Standard that a number of international institutions are providing assistance where this is concerned.

While he did not offer specifics on the changes that were done, Minister Trotman said that the World Bank has provided legal expertise and has done some reforms for the nation’s primary oil law, the Petroleum Exploration and Production Act. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also offered expertise on tightening the fiscal aspects of the nation’s laws.

The Commonwealth Secretariat has also played a part, Trotman said, in the redrafting of some of the petroleum regulations too. US law firm Jones Day also offered assistance on that front.

Going forward, the minister explained that the government is in pursuit of a consultant to review all of that work that was done by the agencies. “The consultant is going to make everything parliamentary ready,” he told the Guyana Standard.

Further to this, Minister Trotman stated that work was done by the World Bank on the draft Petroleum Commission Bill. He said that the reformed document was submitted since last year to the Energy Department.

Meanwhile, Energy Department Head, Dr. Mark Bynoe, was recently asked if the said bill would be ready before commercial oil production in 2020. The official noted that this is not likely and that there should be no panic as a result.

Dr. Bynoe said, “The sky will not cave in if oil comes and the Commission is not in place because precedent has shown that. You had the Jubilee field in Ghana that started production even before their Petroleum Commission was in place. Would we like to have it before? Sure, that would be perfect, but if not it doesn’t mean that everything grinds to a halt.”

Dr. Bynoe expressed confidence that the major tenets for the efficient monitoring of Guyana’s oil will be in place by first oil. “I am confident that the right mechanisms will be in place to ensure Guyana will not be involved in value leakage,” the official concluded.



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