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Opposition informs ExxonMobil of plans to increase fiscal benefits from lopsided oil contract

Opposition informs ExxonMobil of plans to increase fiscal benefits from lopsided oil contract

ExxonMobil, News, Oil & Gas

Kaieteur News – Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton has informed ExxonMobil of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R) plans to utilize the provisions in the 2016 Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) to extract greater benefits for Guyanese.

Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton

Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton

He made the revelation yesterday while engaging reporters at his weekly press conference. The Opposition Leader explained that he met with officials from the company on Friday where the two sides discussed progress on production activities in the Stabroek Block.

According to Norton, “The meeting was specifically focused on first of all to get an understanding as to where ExxonMobil is at this stage of production. I think they felt that as a government in waiting, they need to update us which they did.”

Meanwhile, he added, “In terms of our position, we have outlined some elements to them of our position. We have also indicated to them that our interest lies in ensuring the Guyanese people obtain as much as is possible from the oil and gas sector and that while we see the importance of investment in Guyana we also see it as important for the Guyanese people to benefit.”

The Opposition Leader said that he also highlighted the importance of the company’s role in developing Guyana’s human resource capacity, as part of Exxon’s corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Norton was keen to note that chief among the subject matters discussed with the company was utilizing the existing provisions of the lopsided oil agreement to secure greater fiscal benefits for the country.

“From the first meeting that I had with Exxon, I recall pointing out to them that there was the existence of that clause and I have continuously said that from then until now and so it didn’t really re-emerge because I believe that anyone who would have read the contract would accept that there is the mechanism and to the extent that we have said to them our focus is to get more for the Guyanese people, in the interest of the Guyanese people I felt it would be axiomatic that that is an avenue open to us,” he told reporters.

Norton also said that the Opposition made other proposals which can be utilized once he is elected to serve in government; however he was reluctant to disclose any further details to that end. He would only say that “they were responsive to some of the options we identified.”

The Opposition Leader added that the party believes instead of going through the formality and approving project after project, there is need for a cohesive development plan where the best options for Guyana are explored.

Guyanese have been protesting against the lopsided terms of the oil contract entered into by the former Coalition since its terms were made public.

Despite promising to revisit oil contracts while in Opposition, the present administration has now made it clear that the deal will not be modified.

In the meantime, the PNC/R says it will utilize the provisions of the contract to engage the company. According to Section 32.1 of the contract: “…the Government shall not amend, modify, rescind, terminate, declare invalid, or unenforceable, require renegotiation of, compel replacement or substitution, or otherwise seek to avoid, alter, or limit this Agreement without the written consent of (the) Contractor.”