Guyana not yet prepared to disclose identities of oil negotiators – State Minister

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Joseph Harmon, Minister of State

The Guyanese public is no closer to knowing the full identities of those who have been negotiating terms and conditions on their behalf for development and production of offshore oil resources.  The country’s Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, told reporters at a media briefing in Georgetown on Friday that, for the most part, this information is “still under wraps.”

With the exception of one key individual; Dr. Jan Mangal, who has been identified as an Advisor on Petroleum to Guyana’s President, David Granger, not much else is known about the identities of those leading or advising on negotiations.

Members of the public have been asking for details on this matter and it was once again raised at a recent public lecture on local content.

Mr. Harmon, who is part of a team of Ministers put together by the President to report on matters relating to the industry, said at the media briefing on Friday, “Dr. Mangal, as you may well be aware, his credentials are international, it is what we call ‘cutting edge’ in the industry, fortunately also, he is a Guyanese, of Guyanese parentage. He operates out of Houston Texas, which is the centre of the oil universe. In addition to that, from time to time, we will identify leading experts in the field of Law, Environment and other negotiating skills, which we will put to use for the benefit of the people of Guyana, so I won’t be able to say to you this is the particular company or individual doing the negotiations.”

He added that within the Ministry of Natural Resources, there are some in-house capacities and capabilities, “but that in-house capacity will be augmented by the resources which are available internationally and which we will use to our best interest.”

The Minister was further asked about the team which successfully negotiated the 2% royalty on oil production which was recently announced.

However, he again said “I cannot say specifically to you that who were there and who were not there, those are still matters that I believe that are still under wraps. What I can say to you is that, the team was led by a competent Minister of Natural Resources.”

Currently, the Government is doing a review of all of its contracts and policies related to the Petroleum Industry. The President has appointed key Ministers; Ministers of Business, Natural Resources, Finance, Public Infrastructure and State, to report on all issues in relation to the sector and all decisions in the sector.