APNU+AFC Member of Parliament David Patterson who overlooks the oil and gas sector on the opposition side believes US oil-giant ExxonMobil should not participate in the upcoming auction of Guyana’s remaining oil blocks.
“At the moment I think Exxon has more blocks than that is legally required. I think they have 10 times the amount of blocks that are in our State,” Patterson said in response to questions posed to him during a recent press conference held by the Alliance For Change (AFC).
Since May 2015, ExxonMobil has made 25 significant discoveries offshore Guyana.
In December 2019, the company began oil production in the Stabroek Block. It is also the operator of the Canje and Kaieteur Blocks offshore Guyana.
While underscoring the importance for local companies to be given the opportunity to auction for the remaindering offshore blocks, the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Member of Parliament said as an alternative, the US oil company can partner with local companies.
“There is nothing wrong with Exxon partnering afterwards, if they want to lend their expertise to local companies. But I don’t think it is advantageous for us to have more than 50% or 60% of our oil fields controlled by one company,” MP Patterson posited.
According to Patterson, while in Government, the APNU+AFC was moving to diversify the budding Oil and Gas Sector to guard against a monopoly. He noted that operators should come from Guyana and or other countries or companies.
In the case of Exxon, MP Patterson said the company has more than enough.
“I do think that Exxon has more than enough at the moment; I do think some of their blocks will be coming up for relinquishment because obviously they may not be able to explore them all at the same time. I don’t think that they not competing would be detrimental to them in any way possible,” he reasoned.
AFC Member, Dr Vincent Adams who is the former Head of the Environmental Protection Agency, in echoing similar sentiments, said ahead of the auction, there should be a mentoring protégé project, where, Exxon, for example, can help to build the capacity of Guyanese companies to effectively move from exploration to production.
The auctioning of the remaining oil blocks was expected to take place by the end of September; however, the Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo said the Government was still in the process of finalizing the fiscal terms for the new prospecting licenses.
Though delayed, the remaining blocks are expected to be auctioned before the end of 2022.
AFC’s coalition partner, APNU, has said that the process of auctioning the country’s remaining oil blocks should be halted until clear mechanisms are put in place to ensure transparency and accountability.