IDB willing to fund creation of “proper institutions” in Guyana for oil & gas

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Guyana’s Minister of State, Joseph Harmon and Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman engaging with IDB officials, including Representative in Guyana, Sophie Makonnen, Ramon Espinasa, Lenin Balza and Carlos Sucre. Legal Advisor to the Minister of State, Geeta Chandon-Edmond and Presidential Advisor on Petroleum, Dr. Jan Mangal are also pictured first and second from left. (MOTP Photo)

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is open to providing technical and financial assistance to Guyana for the creation of institutions needed to support the country’s emerging oil and gas sector.

A team of officials from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) paid a courtesy call on Guyana’s Minister of State, Joseph Harmon on Wednesday to discuss options and possible areas of collaboration. The meeting, which took place at the Ministry of the Presidency (MOTP), was also attended by Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman and Presidential Advisor on Petroleum, Dr. Jan Mangal.

According to a MOTP press release, the team is exploring the possible roles that the IDB could play in supporting Guyana’s emerging oil and gas sector and included the IDB Representative in Guyana, Sophie Makonnen, Lead Oil and Gas Specialist in the Energy Division, Ramon Espinasa, Economist- Energy, Lenin Balza and Consultant in the Energy Division of the Infrastructure and Environment Section, Carlos Sucre.

During the meeting, Mr. Harmon said that he and the natural resources minister are both members of a team appointed by Guyana’s President, David Granger, to advise the Cabinet on matters related to this sector. He noted that the team is led by Mr. Trotman and includes Minister of Finance, Mr. Winston Jordan, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Mr. David Patterson, Minister of Business, Mr. Dominic Gaskin and Dr. Mangal. The Minister assured the IDB team that the Government is confident that their support could benefit the development of policies in the sector.

Mr. Espinasa advised the ministers that it is essential for the Government to determine how it wants to manage the resources, and that it must ensure contracts are well drafted to ensure the best possible deal for Guyana. “We are here to support with whatever you need, most probably with what we call technical assistance, and this is concessionary support, and eventually, if that is the case, a loan of different amounts for creating the proper institutions,” he said.

Mr. Trotman thanked Mr. Espinasa for his presentation and noted that the IDB has set out different steps that the Government must carefully consider. “We have had similar presentations made to us and I believe that we are in the process of defining or compartmentalizing, who does what,” he said.

The IDB became a supporter of the EITI in 2009.

EITI is a global standard that promotes revenue transparency and accountability in the extractive sector. Companies are required to publish what they pay and governments, what they receive, and this is then compiled in an EITI report, for scrutiny.