The State Asset Recovery Agency’s (SARA) probe of the ExxonMobil operated Stabroek, Kaieteur, and Canje blocks, as well as the Tullow operated Orinduik block is not only highly improper and totally disturbing but also dangerous for investor confidence, says attorney-at-law and Oil Consultant, Charles Ramson.
The official made this declaration at a press conference which was held earlier today by the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) at its Waterloo Street Office. Charles, who also serves as the Chairman of GCCI’s Petroleum Committee, said SARA should be treating the matter as an internal investigation. He categorically stated that it should only make pronouncements upon the conclusion of the probe.
The Oil Consultant said, “How this thing is unravelling is almost as if you are looking at Game of Thrones.”
Furthermore, Ramson said he noted news reports where ExxonMobil’s Public Relations Officer Deedra Moe revealed that the firm was not contacted on the matter by SARA or any government official even though the probe reportedly started a year ago. In light of this, Ramson said that the manner in which the issue is being dealt with is dangerous for the investment climate, destroys investor confidence, and creates a level of uncertainty that is not needed.
The GCCI Petroleum Committee Chairman said too that it could undo a lot of the work that was done by the Guyana trade mission which attended the recently concluded Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas.
Ramson, who was part of the mission, noted that there were over 70,000 attendees and several companies expressed an interest in getting on board with GCCI and investing in Guyana. Ramson said that the news of the probe could evoke trepidation.
Adding to Ramson’s points, GCCI President Nicholas Deygoo-Boyer said he does not believe that SARA should be the entity handling the probe even though it involves state assets. He said that the matter has to be judged against oil and gas policies which SARA has not developed. He believes that the rightful body to handle such a probe is a Petroleum Commission.
The GCCI President said, “We need to have a Petroleum Commission which would have a policy on how the oil blocks are supposed to be awarded and use that as a guideline to see if the previous awards are in keeping with these standards…I don’t think SARA is the best place for this sort of work.”
At this point, the businessman said that SARA is basically shooting in the dark. “It is wasting its time,” he added.
Meanwhile, GCCI’s Past President Vishnu Doerga was also supportive of his colleagues’ statements and he noted that the probe’s results will ultimately prove how competent SARA is.