The ExxonMobil company broke its silence this afternoon on the controversy that has erupted over the cost oil audits and Exxon’s recoverable expenses.
In a one-page statement today, the company said it has forwarded documents and responses to issues raised by the government in the draft audit report.
According to Exxon, it has supplied responses and documents to the issues raised in the draft audit report prepared for the Government by their consultant, adding that the company is now awaiting a formal response from the Government, and it will then look to enter into further dialogue as necessary.
The company said it has acted in good faith and cooperated with the government and their consultants who were appointed to audit cost recovery for the years 1999-2017.
The company said it is normal for auditors to highlight focus areas by sharing a draft report that is later addressed with additional documentation.
Exxon’s response came one day after Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo announced that the Government was launching a probe into an unauthorized meeting between the ExxonMobil company and staffers of the Petroleum Unit of the Ministry of Natural Resources.
An original audit had flagged US$214 million that Exxon was claiming as costs. However, following a meeting between Exxon and Natural Resource Ministry officials, the US$214 million was reduced to US$3 million.
While the Natural Resources Ministry originally agreed with the reduction, it was forced to change its tune when a furious Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo called out the Ministry’s Petroleum Unit at a press conference.
The Natural Resources Ministry later back-peddled from its position on the reduction.
Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday said that the government will not accept any position outside of the position taken by the Guyana Revenue Authority, which had originally flagged the US$214 million in recoverable expenses.
The Minister of Natural Resources is now expected to present a report to Cabinet soon on who granted authorization for staffers of the Ministry to engage ExxonMobil on the issue.