Even as the modalities for Guyana’s first oil blocks auction are still being worked out, Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo has indicated his openness to seeing locals being part of the bid round which is now scheduled for the fourth quarter. of 2022.

During a press conference held at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre today, Dr. Jagdeo said the participation of Guyanese in the bid round is an important factor for discussion, especially when one considers that the petroleum laws allows for this.

He noted however that the government would operate from a cautious position on this matter as it is already aware of the nature of criticisms that may follow. In light of previous experience with the Kaieteur and Canje blocks that were awarded to local companies, Jagdeo said he can predict some critics saying that the administration is paving the way for a few persons to enrich themselves.

The Vice President noted however that consideration has to be given to the intention of the auction, that is, to remove concentration of the offshore blocks in the hands of a few players such as ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL). Currently, Exxon has a monopoly on the majority of the nation’s prime offshore acerage.

If locals are allowed to be part of the process, he said, consideration would have to be given to controlling how the blocks can return to those big players through farm-in agreements.

Overall, Dr. Jagdeo’s belief is that a consortium of locals should be given the chance to prove themselves in terms of attracting the capital for deepwater exploration while offering the country a better fiscal take and making a profit for themselves on top of that.

The official said he would welcome a debate on the pros and cons of this matter in the local newspaper.


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