President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali says he is not disappointed with the fact that Guyana only received bids for 8 of the 14 offshore oil blocks that comprised the country’s first auction. According to a report by the Department of Public Information (DPI), Ali said the bids that included a submission by an ExxonMobil-led consortium comprising Hess Corporation and CNOOC, is a tremendous accomplishment.
President Ali offered the said perspective following questions posed by American journalists during an event on Wednesday, in Washington DC, USA.
“In this market let us be very open and factual about this. We went out and auction[ed] at a time when major economies in the world were basically saying to oil producers, ‘We’re not going to finance you.’ So, you’re going to a market where raising of capital is an issue,” President Ali stated.
He explained that some countries had launched similar auctions but were unsuccessful when compared to responses received by Guyana.
“Many countries went to this same market and got no response to their auctions. We went to this market for 14 blocks and we got a response for eight blocks. We are very happy. We got responses for eight of the 14 blocks and that is significant. That cannot be minimised in any way, shape or form, because there are many countries that went out and got no attraction,” President Ali underscored.
With regard to companies not submitting any bids, the president highlighted that many countries including India and Qatar have expressed an interest in participating in the oil and gas industry but through government-to-government partnerships.
While the option can be explored, Ali explained that the government had to ensure that all blocks undergo an open, transparent public competitive process.
The government through the Ministry of Natural Resources had launched the first-ever competitive offshore oil and gas licensing round in December 2022 with an April 2023 deadline.
However, it was extended to June, July, and then September 12 as the administration moved to advance the sector regulatory framework to ensure accountability and transparency.
Of the 14 blocks, ranging from acreages of 1,000 square kilometres to 3,000 square kilometres, 11 are located in shallow water, while the remaining three can be found in ultra-deep water.
The government will now move to publish the complete details of the submissions for the auction in the Official Gazette, following the Laws of Guyana.