Guyana and India are poised to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will allow for cooperation on the exploration of oil blocks, the sale of crude oil, and capacity strengthening for the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Insight into the comprehensiveness of this groundbreaking partnership was revealed by Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo this morning at his first press briefing for 2023 at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC).

During his recent six-day visit to India, Dr. Jagdeo said he engaged with several Indian government officials on bilateral cooperation on the oil and gas sector. He said the MoU deals with exploring the possibility of trading in crude oil. The chief policymaker on the petroleum industry said he and his team were sure to stress that any specific initiative on this front, must be to the benefit of both nations. “It has to follow market conditions,” the Vice President said.

Furthermore, the Vice President said the MoU speaks about collaboration on natural gas development. He reminded members of the media that ExxonMobil Corporation, which does business here through its subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), is required to produce a Gas Utilization Plan. This is in keeping with the provisions of the Yellowtail Petroleum Production Licence. Jagdeo said government is simultaneously working on its national gas strategy which will benefit from India’s expertise. He said this strategy will examine what is to be done with the nation’s gas resources, some of which are locked away in the Haimara and Pluma discoveries in the Stabroek Block.

The Vice President also said that the MoU paves the way for cooperation in exploring oil blocks which are not part of the current auction that involves 14 concessions. He noted that 20 percent of the Stabroek Block, which will be relinquished next year, will be part of the pool of concessions for bilateral engagements. If those talks do not prove fruitful, the Vice President said they will form part of the nation’s next auction.

The Vice President also indicated that the terms that will govern the bilateral framework have not been ironed out as yet. He also reminded that India is not the only suitor interested in Guyana’s oil. Qatar, Brazil and the United Kingdom have also presented themselves as potential suitors. He said these nations will also have access to a similar framework.

The former Head of State said no date has been confirmed as yet for the official signing of the Energy MoU with India, adding that it encapsulates opportunities for partnership on renewable energy.

He did reveal that India’s Foreign Minister is expected to visit soon on this front.

Guyana Standard understands that the MoU is before the Indian Cabinet for review. It is expected to be released after the signing.


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