-by Kurt Campbell-
Hours after the government released the contract it shares with the ExxonMobil company, the US oil giant hosted a press engagement to provide its own overview of the agreement with the hope of helping to make public discourse more constructive.
Setting the tone ahead of Government’s press engagement slated for Friday, ExxonMobil Country Manager Ron Henson said the company was in full support of transparency and is happy at the move the make the document public, following a slew of requests from the public.
Henson said he believes the contract represented a “fair deal” where both the government and ExxonMobil have been treated fairly during the renegotiation of the agreement.
He would not disclose, however, who were the members of the negotiating team or whether there was any request put forward by Exxon that it did not receive.
Mr. Henson explained that although the revised 2016 agreement includes several new payments and fees, both parties benefited from the reworked agreement with the securing of additional exploration time.
“It is unreasonable to compare this agreement to agreements in more mature oil and gas countries… it is even more [unreasonable] to cherry pick elements of the agreement and make comparisons,” he said.
Asked why Exxon hadn’t released the contract earlier or rejected the Government’s claim that there was no signing bonus when it was already in place, the Country Manager said the company was following the government’s lead.
In the overview provided by Henson, some of the new payments include not only the US$18 million signature bonus which has already been handed over to the government, but also includes increases in the annual rental fee to US$1M and an annual social responsibility fee of US$300,000.
Guyana’s profit from only the Liza phase 1 could be over US$1.5 billion after five years and over US$7 billion over the life of the project. The first discovery was announced by ExxonMobil in May 2015 following which the government engaged the company in a period of renegotiation.