While it has been said ad nauseam that ExxonMobil stands to get the lion’s share from Guyana’s oil wealth, thereby leaving citizens with only the scraps to collect, Oil and Gas Accountant Charles Ramson does not believe this to be true. During an interview with the Guyana Standard this morning, the young lawyer articulated that Guyana can gain as much as US$1B by 2023 from Liza One alone should prices be around $60 per barrel at that time.
Further to this, Ramson said that one must bear in mind that, overall, Guyana’s take from the deal with ExxonMobil averages 52 per cent. But out of that profit, the very deal says Guyana must pay ExxonMobil’s income taxes.
Ramson, who has been critical of various provisions in the contract that was revised by the Granger-led government in 2016, said, too, that he does not side with those who call for the deal to be renegotiated. Whether the contract is good or bad, Ramson said he stands by the principle of honouring agreements. This position is also held by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
The youthful opposition member said, “Even though I wanted us to have a better deal, I do not believe that it is terrible…But future contracts would have to be far better.”
Since the release of the ExxonMobil Production Sharing Agreement (PSA), observers such as Chartered Accountant Nigel Hinds and head of Transparency International Guyana Inc. Dr Troy Thomas have continued to sound alarm bells, saying that it has to be renegotiated.
Just recently, Hinds appeared on the talk show “Plain Talk” which is hosted by Chartered Accountant and attorney-at-law Christopher Ram to discuss the next elections and the coming of oil. (See link for the show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzxvtjaWvz8&t=761s)
Hinds unapologetically stated that the two per cent royalty Guyana is made to receive is the sword in the country’s back. He said that the nation deserves to receive a 15 per cent royalty. The prolific writer, who speaks and writes often on issues that have to be addressed in the oil sector, also noted that the political parties of the day need to be unafraid, grab the proverbial tiger by its tail, and bring it to the table for renegotiation.
TIGI’s Head Dr Troy Thomas also agreed with Hinds, as he told the Guyana Standard that there can be no sanctity of contracts when it is not in keeping with the Constitution or procurement laws of the country. Dr Thomas said he will maintain that what Guyana got from ExxonMobil can only be described as a poor deal. It needs to be regularised, the transparency advocate concluded.