Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo revealed during an engagement with the media today that the government expects to hold the country’s first oil blocks auction come the third quarter of next year. He said the pool of blocks will include relinquished portions of offshore concessions along with those which are already available such as Block C.
In light of its intention to host the auction next year, Dr. Jagdeo said the government will now aggressively enforce the relinquishment provisions in the petroleum exploration contracts it has with companies such as ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL).
The Vice President said, “We have been caught up with trying to put in place the architecture for the management of the industry but now we have to move to enforcement and then auctioning.”
The local oil czar was keen to note however that the government would have to make several policy decisions between now and next year. He said this includes getting the technical expertise that is needed for this process and deciding whether the government will fund a 3D seismic survey on the blocks available.
He said, “…We have to also make a decision like some countries are doing, whether we want to invest, like Suriname is doing, to shoot 3D seismic and then auction the block with seismic data which gives us a higher price or just auction the areas as is since the government would ultimately have to stand the costs associated with the 3D seismic survey.”
The Vice President said too that the government has to decide on whether it would preclude existing companies such as ExxonMobil to be part of the bidding round. If it does not, then it runs the risk of allowing the oil major to increase the monopoly it has over the Guyana basin.
“So we have to make that policy decision among others…,” the Vice President concluded.