The Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) that was revised and signed in 2016 between the Granger administration and Stabroek Block partners, ExxonMobil, Hess Corporation, and NOOC/NEXEN, is fraught with too many fiscal loopholes and should not be allowed to stand says Chartered Accountant and anticorruption advocate, Christopher Ram.
In fact, the attorney-at-law is of the firm conviction that Guyana must find a way to persuade ExxonMobil to make key alterations to some of the contract’s provisions so that the nation can be properly compensated for the exploitation of its resources.
The official said, “…We know Exxon bullied former Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman and the APNU+AFC government…That is the best spin you can give, gross incompetence. But we still have an opportunity to fix this. We signed such a deal (that will tie us up until) 2056…”
He added, “But they cannot appear to be totally insensitive to Guyana and I am hoping good sense will prevail. Guyana means a lot to the Stabroek block partners and I think we have to persuade them that this contract cannot stand and in my view, there are illegal elements in it and it was a case of them misusing their powers in getting that agreement.”
As it relates to the current Payara Field Development Plan that the government is currently reviewing, Ram said that the President Irfaan Ali ought to be congratulated for standing up to Exxon and asking for time to review what was done by the previous regime. He said too that it is to Canada’s credit that it is playing a part in the process as it provided a grant which paved the way for a consultant to be hired. Former Premier of Alberta, Alison Redford, is said to be leading a team of experts on the review of works done thus far on the plan by the first consultancy firm called Bayphase Consultancy.
Even as he praised the government for standing up to Exxon, Ram said he is disappointed that Guyanese have not been given a voice where this is concerned. He stressed that public consultations should be held on the issues with the oil deal as well as for those pertaining to the Payara review. He expressed hope that the outcome on the two matters reflects the interest of Guyanese.